Site Loader

During the 1800s, there were conflicts in how women were viewed and treated. On one hand, they were often viewed as the weaker sex, and thus were often treated as delicate creatures that had to be protected. On the other hand, they were often viewed as little more than objects, which could be made to do or say whatever was requested or demanded of them. Through the use of the articles chosen, this paper will focus on the latter, demonstrating two things: how little real power women of the 1800s had, yet how much strength they did have.The first article, Women Miners in the English Coal Pits, provides a description of the deplorable working conditions endured by female coal miners in 19th century England. One example of the hardship would be how the male miners treated the women they worked with. In the words of Patience Kershaw: “Sometimes they beat me if I am not quick enough, with their hands; they strike me upon my back. The boys take liberties with me sometimes; they pull me about” (Women Miners, 6).While it is quite unbelievable that women would be chosen to work in such a difficult profession, the article makes it extremely clear why a female would be chosen for such work: “Not only did women…work for less, their small bodies and nimble limbs permitted them to crawl through the narrow tunnels to mine and haul the coal much more easily than men.” Furthermore, there was a “…clear economic advantage of using women…in the English mines” (Women Miners, 3).The second article, Geisha: Glimpse of Unfamiliar Japan – written by Lafcadio Hearn, provides a brief, but detailed look into the world of a geisha. Beginning with an introduction that explains what a geisha is and all that is involved in becoming one, the article goes on to present a short description of a dinner party in which geisha were present. Again, there is a description of what a young girl must endure while training to become a geisha. One example would be how a geisha acquires the correct voice for singing: “In the iciest hours of winter nights, she must ascend to the roof of her dwelling-house, and there sing…till…the voice dies in her throat. The desired result is an atrocious cold. After a period of hoarse whispering, her voice changes its tone and strengthens. She is ready to become a public singer…” (Hearn, 9).Upon reading both articles, it is evident that the women discussed in both had very little real power. Another aspect that stands out is that the women are all poor. Therefore, they cannot walk away from the situations they find themselves in. However, there is one major difference. While the female coal miners of England do not seem to have had much schooling, the geisha of Japan must have a bit of schooling, particularly if they are to be taught the art of calligraphy. That cannot truly be learned without having learned how to read and write.Yet, this one difference does not negate the fact that, during the 1800s, women were viewed as objects that existed for the amusement of men. That point must not be forgotten, as it serves as one of the catalysts for the women’s movement that begins to take hold in the late 1800s.To a certain extent, women are still lacking in power today. While we may have freedoms that the female miners and the geisha did not have during the 1800s, in many ways we are still viewed as subordinate to men. The paternalistic society that existed in the 1800s is still somewhat prevalent today in the 21st century. While this may not be the case in the United States, there are still foreign nations that continue to live by caveman attitudes.In essence, we are still living out the maxim of Charles Darwin: survival of the fittest. To that end, one can say that the female miners and the geisha are survivors. Rather than let their circumstances break them down completely, they choose to rise to the occasion and do the best with the hand that has been dealt to them. This, then, is what makes a woman unique. She may not have the power to alter her status in life, but she does have the strength to endure it.

Post Author: admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


I'm Tamara!

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out