Bennis and Nanus and Kouzes and Posner. Bibliography lists 4 sources.
As such, the fact that the majority of writers have traditionally been men is interpreted not as the result of a robust and well-maintained system of male privilege, but rather because men, by nature, are more intelligent and creative. The maintenance of this lie, and others like it, are crucial to the continued success of male privilege, because the moment one acknowledges that gender differences are dependent on socially constructed boundaries and barriers, the continued disempowerment of women through denial of education becomes indefensible.
As such, this is why denying women access to education and expression through writing is such a crucial component of male privilege, and a look at Stein's discussion of composition's relation to individual experience will help to further demonstrate this fact.
According to Stein, "the composition is the thing seen by every one living in the living they are doing, they are the composing of the composition that at the time they are living is the composition of the time in which they are living" Stein While this is rendered in Stein's characteristically and unhelpfully obtuse language, it reveals something essential about the act of writing that has great importance for this discussion.
Stein considers composition mainly in terms of time, both in relation to historical time and a more immediate notion of time as it relates to the actual act of writing. For this particular study, it is Stein's consideration of historical time that is most relevant, because it highlights how, whether intentionally or unintentionally, the act of writing inherently says something about the context in which it is being performed.
This phenomenon can be seen quite clearly in The Yellow Wallpaper, because the narrator unintentionally highlights some of the most egregious examples of male privilege and female disempowerment in her society, even as she is seemingly unaware that she is doing so.
For example, when she notes that both her husband and her brother are physicians "of high standing," she reveals the dominance of men in the medical profession, even if she herself does not question this dominance Gilman Furthermore, when she notes that her husband "loves me very dearly, and hates to have me sick" just before relating how he forbids her from doing what she would like, the narrator reveals how dominance and authoritarianism is so frequently successful precisely because it couches itself in terms of looking out for the dominated person's "best interest" Gilman Thus, the patriarchal tendency to restrict women's access to education and writing serves two related goals.
Firstly, it ensures that positions of power, whether political, academic, or commercial, remain in the hands of men, as women are deemed unfit for these positions due to a lack of education or experience. Secondly, it precludes any notable critique of this system, because denying women expression means that they are unable to relate their experiences, experiences that would automatically reveal as untrue the vast complex of assumptions and stereotypes that help to maintain male privilege.
This is not to suggest that men are entirely incapable of critiquing patriarchybut rather that it is exceptionally difficult for those privileged by deeply rooted social conventions to accurately acknowledge and assess the basis of those privileges because, as stated before, this privilege depends upon the perpetuation of myths that explicitly serve to hide the fact that this privilege is socially constructed.
Bearing all of this in mind, one may begin to see how The Yellow Wallpaper represents a kind of horrific exemplar of the social structures critiqued by Woolf and the potential for writing to express marginalized voices discussed by Stein, because it presents a terrifying inversion of the ideal writing room as well as the destructive effects prohibiting expression can have on the individual.
The "room of one's own" discussed by Woolf functions primarily to provide a safe space in which a woman can write, free from the social structures which have historically prohibited this writing. In this sense the room is a retreat, providing "spatial privacy" that subsequently precipitates a kind of mental privacy, wherein "a woman can exercise choice and autonomy in how private or public she wishes to be," both in regards to her body and her writing Gan 68, Woolf's ideal room is not akin to a cloister, wherein all outside influence is decidedly absent, but rather a negotiable space wherein a woman may choose the extent to which she wishes society to influence her and her work.
In contrast, the room in The Yellow Wallpaper represents precisely the opposite, because it is symbolic of the narrator's complete powerlessness.
The narrator "wanted one downstairs that opened on the piazza and had roses all over the window, and such pretty, old-fashioned chintz hangings," but her husband denies her this because "there was only one window and not room for two beds, and no near room for him if he took another" Gilman 6.
The narrator is granted no agency over the room, as her husband and his sister come and go as they please. Even though the narrator claims that "Jennie is good and lets me alone when I want her to," she still finds Jennie in the room unexpectedly, and this causes her further mental disturbances Gilman 21, Rather than a space of agency and autonomy, the room represents nothing more than a prisonso that it is only natural that the narrator begins to view it this way.This sample Women’s Studies Research Paper is published for educational and informational purposes only.
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