Sunday, February 22, 2009

Gilman's Analysis on Sexuoeconomic Relations

Gilman suggests that there are three environments that influence the human race: the natural, the material, and the social (See Appelrouth et al., 2008, pg. 209 or Allen, 2007, pg. 141-2). The social, particularly as it is related to the development of a sophisticated economic system, is enormous in its influence. With the economy as an organizing force, Gilman writes that women have been relegated to a position where they are unable to develop thier natural strenghts, their talents, or their own economic talents. All that she has, all that she is known for stems from the sexuorelationship that she is tied to. What are the accompanying or reinforcing influences that kept women in this position - beyond the economic structures that Gilman identifies? In other words, what other institutions/influences were (and continue to?) define what a woman's role is in society? Does Gilman's own positionality "narrow" her view of the world as well as this part of her analysis?


  1. Basically, women were removed from the world of economic production due to male dominance. After such issues, women became more adaptive to this type of environment that the things they valued the most had changed and thus it increased their dependency on men. Gilman believed that humans began as animals pursuing individual gain and it was all about survival of the fittest, only the strong survive. Her views have a somewhat mixed reaction speaking in terms to Gilman's times to today's world; men took control through patriarchy and dominance but now in today's society women have come to evolve into a dominate species all their own.

  2. I must respectfully disagree with you, "fusethe2kapow". As much as women have risen in modern day economic infrastructures, the demands are still the same. The social demand for a woman to be married, to have children, and to do it at a young age (before she reaches her 30s) are still very much alive. Yes, I do think there are many dominant women in today's society, but I have yet to meet a woman who wants to stay single for the rest of her life.

    It is not uncommon to meet the mature bachelors, the 40 and 50 something men who live the life of a gigolo, effortlessly, without a second thought about what society might think about them. However, the first thing you run into if you are a 35-year-old woman with a college education and a successful career and find yourself at a family reunion is, "so when will we see the husband, the children?" TV reinforces this idea exponentially! We watch shows like "Sex and the City" that show four very successful "beautiful" women who OBSESS about staying in a relationship long enough to tie the knot. This never happens, of course, and when it does- the woman's career or individuality usually leads the short marriage to a divorce.

    So if we want to talk about institutions that define a woman's role in society, I say #1 the family, #2 the media, #3 the friends who are influenced by family and media, and finally #4 our own insecurities about not fitting in. Ultimately, this cycle continues throughout our lives, and we pass it on to our children.

    All of these influence how women AND men feel about themselves. Ultimately, we will work our butts off for whatever will help us fit in- the look, the accessories, and the image of success. I don't think we should leave men out of this conversation, either. They are very much affected by this as well, as we have seen with the development of the "metrosexual," which goes back to the morbid excess of sex distinction.