Women in the 21st Century
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Sex is a biological determination of male or female, whereas gender is socially constructed, and designates the roles and responsibilities of woman and man. The body is a way in which gender is established, and the stereotypes that define a body confine gender within certain social norms. Ideas of what a ‘real’ woman should look like and how she should dress for her husband to please him confine women to a certain type, and if we fall short of these images we are not good enough or we do not fit the female gender norm. “The female body is inscribed socially, and most often, individually experienced as a lacking, incomplete or inadequate body… Women’s oppression is generated in part by these systems of patriarchal morphological inscription- that is, by a patriarchal symbolic order- or part by internalised, psychic representations of this inscribed body, and in part as a result of the different behaviours, values and norms that result from these different morphologies and psychologies.” (Riley 106-107)
In other words, women have used feminism to advance within the public sphere, but we are now faced with a new challenge. “Moll Flanders,” “Penelope” and Goblin Market are literary works that I have analyzed to find the feminist features in each. After analyzing each work I found that the authors worked to write “New” woman and most importantly REAL woman into being, and we can see that these texts are a guide for the women of the present and future, but the women of the 21st century are now faced with the patriarchal view of women, one that we often fall short of attaining.