A final thought

“The fallen woman is only seen as the fallen woman because of the rigid gender roles. Without the gender roles, the categorizations of “Fallen Woman” and “Angel in the House” would be non-existant.” (Power)

That’s where I left off on my last post, and that’s where I’ll start on this one. In a stereotypical division of male/female, the females were meant to be submissive, the weaker sex, and that meant following the husband’s wishes and taking care of the family. The categories of Angel in the House and the Fallen Women are merely meant as labels which society places on females to either praise them for living up to the expectations of the home (Angels in the House) or scorning them for being rebellious. (The Fallen Woman.)

At the end of Goblin Market, Lizzie is a mother- she is telling the story to the children- she has become an “angel in the house” even though she was close to being the fallen woman.

If these roles which women have of being the caretaker, or being submissive were not so set, there would be no judgement placed on them if they chose to do what they wanted. These labels strip them of any identity they may have and only judges them according to how they are expected to behave in society. They may even be happy they are not following traditional gender roles; and their acts of sex which could change them into the fallen woman, such as with Moll Flanders, who would rather be a “whore than a wife” may actually empower them.

Not every sex act has to be thought of in terms of domination and subordination. If they both choose to enter into the act; then they are equals. (Are they not? If they have a choice?) Whether or not they hold up to society’s standards of what is right or wrong, is irrelevant, as women can be empowered as much as men. (There are exceptions, but I’m not getting into that.)

In this picture, the girls are turning their heads, fascinated or horrified. The goblin “men” can barely be seen. They are hidden, among the trees and look inhuman. They are not to be approached by the women.

The act of sex shouldn’t be scorned or cause shame, it should be seen as an area in which both people are comfortable, and of equal status. They enter into it willingly, and they can control what they do. It is not society’s problem, it is the couple’s act. Labelling should not and can not be fair with regard to the sex act, regardless of the circumstances because sex is personal. Pubic labels simply do not fit within a private space, and private spaces should not place public labels on anyone.

Thanks for reading! I’m still actively updating my other blog– feel free to follow if you wish!

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WORKS CITED:

IMAGES

  1. http://www.artrenewal.org/artwork/996/1996/28352/goblin_market:_laura_would_call_the_little_ones-large.jpg
  2. http://www.imediaconnection.com/images/content/featimage_womenpinterest.jpg
  3. http://www.uh.edu/engines/goblinmarkettitlepage.jpg

LINKS:

  1. Jennpower “It’s All Kid’s Stuff.” WordPress. <http://someonetoday.wordpress.com
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The fallen woman.

It is true of all people that “The members of any exhorted mass…are always apt to break out of its corrals to re-align themselves elsewhere.” (Riley, 96). If people are categorized, they will either conform or they will try to resist the category. If “angels in the house” follow the traditional woman behaviour they are meant to exhibit in Western patriarchal society, then the “fallen woman” rejects it.

From Goblin Market: The goblins try to force the fruit to be eaten. If she does, her reputation is ruined.

In Goblin Market, Laura has the potential to become a fallen woman. Serving as a warning is Jeanie. “Do you not remember Jeanie/How she met them in the moonlight,/Took their gifts both choice and many, /ate their fruits and wore their flowers/ Pluck’d from bowers /Where summer ripens at all hours?” (Rossetti, lines 147-152). Jeanie is made an example of what not to do. When Laura goes to the goblins she wants to eat the fruit. She becomes the fallen woman “She clipp’d a precious golden lock, She dropp’d a tear more rare than pearl, Then suck’d their fruit globes fair or red: Sweeter than honey from the rock, Stronger than man-rejoicing wine, Clearer than water flow’d that juice; She never tasted such before, How should it cloy with length of use? She suck’d and suck’d and suck’d the more Fruits which that unknown orchard bore; She suck’d until her lips were sore; Then flung the emptied rinds away But gather’d up one kernel stone,” (Rossetti, lines 126-138) When Lizzie intervenes, on her behalf the goblins force Lizzie to interact with them. “They began to scratch their pates, No longer wagging, purring, But visibly demurring, Grunting and snarling. One call’d her proud, Cross-grain’d, uncivil; Their tones wax’d loud, Their look were evil. Lashing their tails They trod and hustled her, Elbow’d and jostled her, Claw’d with their nails, Barking, mewing, hissing, mocking, Tore her gown and soil’d her stocking, Twitch’d her hair out by the roots, Stamp’d upon her tender feet, Held her hands and squeez’d their fruits Against her mouth to make her eat. (Rossetti, 390-407) They both have to deal with the fruit, but Laura does so willingly, Lizzie does to save her sister; she is also “mindful of Jeanie” (Rossetti, 364) during her encounter with the goblins. Laura had the potential to be the fallen women, but she is redeemed because of her sister.

Moll is the fallen woman. She doesn’t care however. She is so determined to make money that she wants to use her body to it’s advantage.“Putting the purse into my bosom, I made no more resistance to him, but let him do just as he pleas’d; and as often as he pleas’d; and thus I finish’d my own destruction at once, for from this day being forsaken of my virtue and my modesty, I had nothing of value left to recommend me, either in God’s blessing, or man’s assistance.” (Defoe, 29) She exchanges sex for money, and seeing that she is ruined, she does it carelessly-her reputation has already been ruined, there is no point in trying to make it better. However, it could also be said that she is not a fallen woman, because she “would rather be [a] whore than…[a] wife.” (Defoe, 40) It doesn’t matter to Moll what anyone thinks of her, she does not care about society. She actually goes out of her way to not be seen as an ideal wife, as she “strove all I could to bring him to a parting with me, which was above all things in the world I desir’d most.” (Defoe, 92) It is only herself that she wants to please. It could even be seen as a way of resisting the gender roles, and it being a positive thing, not negative.

The fallen woman is only seen as the fallen woman because of the rigid gender roles. Without the gender roles, the categorizations of “Fallen Woman” and “Angel in the House” would be non-existant.

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WORKS CITED

IMAGES:

  1. http://cfile206.uf.daum.net/image/1526B3124AB317EB1439D9
TEXTS:
  1. Defoe, Daniel, and G. A. Starr. The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1998. Print.
  2. Riley, Denise. “Am I That Name?”: Feminism and the Category of “women” in History. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 1988.
  3. Rossetti, Christina. “Goblin Market.” By Christina Rossetti : The Poetry Foundation. The Poetry Foundation, n.d. Web. 07 Mar. 2013.http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/174262
LINKS:
  1. Devonweil. “The Pressure to Survive…While Acting like a Lady.” Web log post. The Pressure of Performing:Gender Performativity in Life and Literature. WordPress, 26 Mar. 2013. Web. 28 Mar. 2013. ;.
  2. Terrilynhaley. “History of Prostitution” Web log Post Sex Sells. WordPress. 4 March 2013. Web. 2 April 2013

The Good Wife

Her husband is behind her- she takes the forefront, but there is a reminder that she has her husband with her as well- she is independent, but her husband’s high profile allows her to be so.

I took this title from a T.V show that I’m obsessed with- but this post has nothing to do with that show. This post is about the role which women play which are considered to be “good”- for the household, for the family, for society.

One such role is the role of the mother.  The mother is expected to be the primary caregiver, and look after the children. If they do not, they are not performing their role properly. They are constantly being judged on how well they look after their children. It is the fault of the mother if the child does not act the way it is expected to. “The troubles of ‘women…are not unique. But aren’t they arguably peculiar in that ‘women’ do suffer from a heavy degree of characterization? Is it true too that ‘mothers’ demonstrate this acutely, and interact with ‘women’ in the course of social-policy invocations particularly; in Britain after 1945, for instance when women were described either as ‘mothers’, over-feminized, or as ‘workers’, under-feminized, but the category of the ‘working mother’ was impossible.” (Riley, 44). Mothers are stuck in the role of primary caregiver; if they wish to deviate from that to pursue work, or focus on themselves, they remove themselves from the category of “The Angel in the House.”

This is an actual article from a magazine in the fifties. A “good wife’s” guide. Not surprisingly, part of the work that goes into being a “good wife” is to put the husband first.

Following with the role of ‘mother’, there is also the role of ‘wife’. The role of sex was for procreation, allowing the ‘wife’ to become a ‘mother. As the mother was scrutinized, so was the act of sex between the married couple.”The sex of husband and wife was beset by rules and recommendations. The marriage relation was the most intense focus of constraints; it was spoken of more than anything else, more than any other relation, it was required to give a detailed accounting of itself. It was under constant surveillance: if it was found to be lacking, it had to come forward and plead it’s case before a witness.” (Foucault, 37) The marriage of two people was a highly ritualized act. If the couple were not recognized by people as married, (with the help of the wedding ceremony) they were not seen as performing their gender properly. In Goblin Market, there is a mention of someone who should have been in this role. “She thought of Jeanie in her grave who should have been a bride, but who for joys brides hope to have fell sick and died in her gay prime.” (Rossetti, lines 312-316) She could have been the ideal woman; and Jeanie is mentioned several times. However she is also dead. The ideal submissive woman is dependant on others to make decisions for her, to tell her story, because she has no voice; most likely because she is dead.

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WORKS CITED:

PICTURES:

  1. http://cdn.dstv.com/mms.dstv.com/content/images/dstv/program/thegoodwife.jpg
  2. http://themoderngoodwife.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/thegoodwifeguide.jpg

TEXTS:

  1. Foucault, Michel. The History of Sexuality: An Introduction. New York: Pantheon, 1978.
  2. Riley, Denise. Does Sex have a History? New Formations Number (1987): 35-45.
  3. Rossetti, Christina. “Goblin Market.” By Christina Rossetti : The Poetry Foundation. The Poetry Foundation, n.d. Web. 07 Mar. 2013. http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/174262

LINKS:

  1. Jennpower. “Mothers.” Web log post. It’s All Kid’s Stuff. WordPress, 24 Mar. 2013. Web. 24 Mar. 2013.<http://someonetoday.wordpress.com/2013/03/24/mothers/
  2. “The Angel in the House.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 15 Mar. 2013. Web. 01 Apr. 2013. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Angel_in_the_House.

The cost of s-e-x

So, I know this is a funny title. Sex is just one of those things that isn’t really talked about. (Or if it is, it’s talked about in terms of reproducing, not money.) In both Moll Flanders and Goblin Market, the act of sex is viewed as something which a woman exchanges for something else. The amount of power which they have allowing them to take control of the exchange is what is important to deciding among society whether they are fallen women or the angel in the house.

This song is appropriately titled “Money, Money Money.” It claims that people with money have power. “All the things I could do/ If I had a little money in a rich man’s world.” The singer is lamenting about the fact that she has to work to earn money, and would rather have fun. In order to pay her bills though, she has to work. She daydreams about finding someone else who is rich so that she doesn’t have to work anymore.

Money rules the world.

Not only are these two texts different in the time they were published, but they are different in terms of class. Moll is very independent, and it is stated that her ambition is to “be a Gentlewoman…All I understood by being a Gentlewoman was to be able to Work for myself, and get enough to keep me without…going to service.” (Defoe, 13). She makes it her mission early in life to not have to depend on anybody. She makes her own money, and makes her own decisions. She is not merely determined, but obsessed with earning her own money, equating money with independence and not strictly using binaries of gender. “If a young woman have Beauty, Birth, Breeding, Wit, Sense, Manners, Modesty, and all these to an extreame; yet if she had not Money, she’s no Body, she had as good want them all, for nothing but Money now recommends a woman; the men play the game all into their own hands.” (Defoe, 20) Money is what controls society. It controls every aspect of the world, and without it people are essentially nothing. (This is only with the rise of capitalism, before objects were traded for other objects, or services were traded).

While Moll is in control because she does have money and knows that she does not have to depend on others, the girls in Goblin Market are in a completely different situation. They “have no coin” (Rossetti, line 116) and are not able to be equal with the goblin men in the trade. The goblin men have the advantage over the girl, and she sacrifices her beauty for what she wants. The act of sex is described in the terms of “sucking fruit” in Goblin Market- she wants the fruit to eat, so she has to exchange her hair for the fruit and “suck until her lips are sore.” (Rossetti, 136). She is taken advantage of, and is so desperate to survive that she will do anything, including trading her hair for the fruit.

The labels of “angel in the house” and “the fallen women” then, are related to how women are in control of, or a victim to their circumstances. This is related not only to the act of sex, and the female’s actions, but to their class level.

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Works Cited

IMAGES: (In order of appearance. Everything else in alphabetical order.)

  1.  http://mathcentral.uregina.ca/RR/database/RR.09.96/andrews1.1.gif
  2. https://whatdoesntbelonghere.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/goblinmarket4.jpg

BOOKS:

  1. Defoe, Daniel, and G. A. Starr. The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1998. Print.
  2. Rossetti, Christina. “Goblin Market.” By Christina Rossetti : The Poetry Foundation. The Poetry Foundation, n.d. Web. 07 Mar. 2013. http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/174262

CLIPS:

  1. ABBA-Money, Money, Money Lyrics. Prod. TheTaytayselena100. YouTube. YouTube, 02 Dec. 2009. Web. 14 Mar. 2013. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axnJr9P5tck&gt;.

There’s something wrong with this picture.

Welcome to my Gender and Sexuality blog. Over the next few weeks I will be comparing Christina Rosetti’s Goblin Market and Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe. I will be looking at how they defined themselves, how society defined them, and how their roles defined who they were or who they wanted to be.

Does the act of sex really have the power to reduce and transform women into angels of the house or the fallen women? The same act can change women into different things. How is that possible? This blog will be exploring that.

Can you see anything wrong with this picture?

The same picture can produce two different results depending on the way it’s looked at.

I don’t. It’s just two ways of looking at the picture-  It can be both a vase, and two faces, however one is always more apparent in your mind when you first look at it. It’s the same with the terms of “angels in the house” and “fallen women”. The “picture” however, is the act of sex.

Women are mostly thought of in terms of their sexuality. They are different from men simply because of the way the anatomy works. They are increasingly sexualized and categorized because they do have the ability to bear children. Michel Foucault said that “one of the first to be sexualized was the ‘idle’ woman. She inhabited the outer edge of the ‘world,’ in which she always had to appear as a value, and of the family, where she was assigned a new destiny charged with conjugal and parental obligations. Thus there emerged the ‘nervous’ woman, the woman afflicted with ‘vapors’, in this figure, the hysterization of woman found its anchorage point.” (Foucault, 121). As a symbol of sexuality, she has been categorized as an angel of the house, and simultaneously as a fallen woman. They are constantly judged on how they rise to the standards of the “angel in the house” and are scorned for being the “fallen woman”.

So, what is it that influences people to label them? Is it history? Psychology? Or is it simply the fact that biologically males and females are different? Hope this will answer some things for me. (or possibly even make me more confused… we’ll see.)

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WORKS CITED:

IMAGES: (In order of appearance, Everything else in alphabetical order.)

  1. http://natgeotv.com.au/content/cache/600×600/gallery/test-your-brain/optical-illusions/optical-illusion-5.jpg

TEXTS:

  1.  Foucault, Michel. The History of Sexuality: An Introduction. New York: Pantheon, 1978. 

LINKS:

  1. Rossetti, Christina. “Goblin Market.” By Christina Rossetti : The Poetry Foundation. The Poetry Foundation, n.d. Web. 07 Mar. 2013. http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/174262