- The woman question
The woman question is a phrase usually used in connection with a social change in the later half of the nineteenth century which questioned the fundamental roles of women in countries such as the
United Kingdom, the United States of America, and Russia. Issues of women's suffrage, reproductive rights, bodily autonomy, property rights, legal rights, and medical rights and of course marriage, dominated cultural discussions in newspapers and intellectual circles. While many women were supportive of these changing roles, they by no means agreed unanimously. Often issues of marriage and sexual freedom were most divisive.
“The Woman Question” incorporates a myriad of contemporary feminist questions and concerns regarding women’s role in society. Feminism came about when women collectively organized around “The Woman Question.” At various times in history “The Woman Question” has changed, and with it a new era of Feminism is usually named. During First Wave Feminism “The Woman Question” asked whether women’s place was only in the household, or if she was capable of more than domestic chores. British Bourgeoisie women began to complain of their lack of power in familial and political affairs.
Many of the historical changes that characterized the Victorian period motivated discussion and argument about the nature and role of woman — what the Victorians called "The Woman Question." The extension of the franchise by the Reform Bills of 1832 and 1867 stimulated discussion of women's political rights. The Industrial Revolution brought hundreds of thousands of lower-class women into factory jobs with grueling working conditions present [ing] a challenge to traditional ideas of woman's place. [www.wwnorton.com/nael/victorian/topic_2/welcome.htm]
Once American women got the vote in 1920 many believed that “The Woman Question” had been answered, leading to a sort of Feminist recession. During World War II, women who had expected to be only housewives found themselves in the workplace as well. Then in the 60s, Second Wave Feminism, addressed personal ideologies and attitudes toward women, rather than the legal issues that their First Wave sisters had won. With the advent of capitalism, women now compete with men, still earning 77 cents on the dollar for jobs of the same skill set [ [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Income_disparity#Gender_gap] .] In a postindustrial culture that almost requires cars, computers, cell phones, a college education, and TV, women now have no choice but to work to support their families, since one man’s income is not enough.Fact|date=July 2008 To make things worse the “higher cost of higher education” [ [http://www.bu.edu/today/2008/03/11/higher-cost-higher-ed The Higher Cost of Higher Ed | BU Today ] ] and the increasing cost of fuels (gasoline) and now even food, forces more women than ever into the workplace each year. “The Woman Question” is no longer simply should women work alongside men, but since women must work, isn’t the discrepancy in salaries and the second shift unfair? The second shift discourages many young, ambitious women from having children until late in life, or ever. Motherhood’s value, reputation, and experience are at risk in many modern lives. Not only is it more difficult to juggle a job and a child, but many employers legally discriminate against mothers who they know will not be able to work late, and may often be exhausted on the job.Fact|date=July 2008
The 21st century, Third Wave Feminism “Woman Question” points out that the concerns of many upper-middle class white women have been dealt with and put away, but many unsolved questions still remain for minorities within the majority of women, what Gayatri Spivak calls the subaltern. Poor, working class women do have many of the same problems as poor, working-class men, but are at a disadvantage due to their sex. In many cultures women are subjugated, objectified, and controlled through veiling, genital mutilation, neck rings, and other traditions, some physically and some socially, politically, and mentally restrictive. “According to UNESCO's latest statistics, there are an estimated 862 million illiterate adults in the world, about two-thirds of whom are women” [www.pbs.org/now/politics/womened.html] .
To sum it up in a word, “The Woman Question” is inequality, between men and women. Ingrained ideologies and assumptions that we cannot think our way out of, since they have become part of our very process of thought, may prevent “The Woman Question” from ever being practically solved, but many different voices have already, and will continue to, offer their many different answers. In the words of Adrienne Rich, influential feminist writer of the late 20th century, “We are not ‘the woman question’ asked by somebody else, we are the women who ask the questions.”
Important literature pertaining to the "woman question" includes:
Sarah Grand: " The Beth Book"
Olive Schreiner: " Story of an African Farm"
Thomas Hardy: " Jude the Obscure"
Otto Weininger: " Sex and Character"
Hall Caine: " The Christian"
Fyodor Dostoevsky: "The Idiot"
Sarah Stickney Ellis: ""
A Vindication of the Rights of Woman"
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
The Woman's Prize — The Woman s Prize, or the Tamer Tamed is a Jacobean comedy written by John Fletcher. Its initial publication occurred in the first Beaumont and Fletcher folio of 1647, though it was obviously written much earlier (Fletcher died in 1625). There is … Wikipedia
The Woman in Red (1935 film) — Infobox film name=The Woman in Red director=Robert Florey writer=Mary C. McCall Jr. Peter Milne Wallace Irwin (novel North Shore ) starring=Barbara Stanwyck Gene Raymond music=Bernhard Kaun cinematography=Sol Polito editing=Terry O. Morse… … Wikipedia
The Woman in Red — La Fille en rouge La Fille en rouge (The Woman in Red) est une comédie américaine réalisée et interprétée par Gene Wilder, sortie en 1984. Sommaire 1 Synopsis 2 Fiche technique 3 Distribution … Wikipédia en Français
The Woman — Produced by David Belasco, William C. de Mille s three act melodrama opened on 19 September 1911 for 247 performances at the Republic Theatre. Illinois state representative Jim Blake disdains his constituency, but fears they will eventually… … The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater
The Woman in Question — Voir La Femme en question … Dictionnaire mondial des Films
Year of the Woman — The Year of the Woman was a popular label attached to 1992 after the election of a number of female Senators in the United States.The hotly contested Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas involving the allegations … Wikipedia
Jesus and the woman taken in adultery — Christ and the Woman Taken in Adultery redirects here. For the painting by Bruegel, see Christ and the Woman Taken in Adultery (Bruegel). Christ with the Woman Taken in Adultery, by Guercino, 1621 (Dulwich Picture Gallery). The Pericope Adulterae … Wikipedia
Swetnam the Woman-Hater — Arraigned by Women is a Jacobean era stage play, an anonymous comedy that was part of an anti feminist controversy of the 1615 ndash;20 period.Performance and publication Swetnam the Woman Hater was first published in 1620, in a quarto issued by… … Wikipedia
Woman — • The position of woman in society has given rise to a discussion which, is known under the name of the woman question Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Woman Woman … Catholic encyclopedia
The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling — infobox Book | name = Tom Jones title orig = The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling translator = image caption = Title page from the 1749 edition author = Henry Fielding illustrator = cover artist = country = Britain language = English series =… … Wikipedia