Why Virginia Woolf is Considered to be a Symbol of Feminist Movement
In A Room of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf stated the causes of women’s oppression and showed an intellectual commitment to political, social and feminist principles. Feminism can be defined as a movement that seeks an enhancement for the quality of women’s lives. It aims to achieve equality between men and women. Women were considered intellectually and physically weak, before the mid of the 19th century. Thus, this led to several feminist groups forming which attempted to provide solutions for women. Feminist groups demanded that all women should have access to education and economic equality with men.
Virginia Woolf calls women to express themselves in all professions and believes literature is open to everybody. Woolf believed that, in order to create an artist, women should create their own identity, discuss their own experiences and encourage women’s writing. She wants women to believe in themselves, maintain the integrity of their values and eliminate society’s masculine values of hierarchy, dominance, and power. In A Room of One’s Own, Woolf tried to answer the question of why there haven’t been a lot of female writers. She states it has to do with women’s lack of privacy and poverty. Woolf thinks that men historically undervalue women as a means of asserting their own superiority. Men are threatened by the thought of losing their power, thus they criticize women in order to glorify themselves.
Woolf portrayed different types of women in various contexts. She begins by stating “a woman must have money and a room of her own is she is to write fiction” (Woolf, 7). Woolf explains that when a woman has a room of her own, it gives them privacy, freedom, and economic and financial independence. With a room, they can write peacefully and produce exceptional literature without being disturbed. However, women were rarely presented these opportunities because they had countless other responsibilities at home. Clearly, Woolf feels that discouraging women to be writers negatively affected them. During her life, Woolf was unable to have the luxury of having a room to herself where she could focus on her writings as the men did. Women were made inferior to men and this affected women’s writing. Woolf argues that once a woman receives the same education and opportunities as men, she would be able to produce art as great as men. Money is one of the elements that prevented women from having a room of their own, and thus, having money is significant. It is evident that without money, women will remain in second place to men.
Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own opened up new arenas for modem criticism. It served to educate women and showed them what the void in their lives consisted of, which was the absence of money and space. Additionally, Woolf directly made room for the next generation of women writers and critics to exist and thrive. She concludes that women have only one opportunity to overcome all of them.
Furthermore, Virginia Woolf was truly committed to women rights and concerned with their position in society throughout her whole life and therefore had a major impact on the feminist movement. She opened the eyes of women on their inferior status and provided them with a female tradition to rely on. In A Room of One’s Own, having a private space and a private income is seen as a major prerequisite for the development of a female writer’s creativity. Woolf wanted to examine the reasons why women had not written as much as men. She is referred to as an early feminist writer; from the point of view of a Woolf reader in the 21st century, there seems to be no doubt about Woolf’s status as a feminist. Therefore, Woolf is considered a symbolic figure of the feminist movement.
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