Again, just like Simone de Beauvoir, Estelle Freedman sees women in a society that is basically or predominantly patriarchal in nature. As such the strength of women decreases and they are placed in a situation wherein they are regarded as second-class only. If women had indeed “come along way”, then it can be said that women is still unsuccessful in reaching it’s the end or that they have not arrived yet. There is still a continuing struggle for equality as men rules the society.
There is still a lot of hard and rigorous work to be done to achieve a society, a status or class where women would have the same power as men do. The history of women had indeed come along way, but it is still progressing and continues to increase in power. This is probably the reason why feminism, which is characterized or placed in four components by Freedman namely equal worth, male privilege, intersecting hierarchies and social movements, is greatly feared in the society. Just like Beauvoir, Freedman knows that woman is struggling in history, in a society where change is taking or occurring slowly.
If Beauvoir believed that an individual needs to become a woman to be considered one, Freedman believes that an individual who think woman are of equal power as man, should treat woman or act in manner that they are indeed in equal worth with man. Eavan Boland who was born in 1944 in Dublin and moved to London when she was six years old, gives emphasis on the role of women especially in the Irish literature and society. Her poems deal on the concept of women and or the identity of women.
Boland is well known because of her contributions and certain accomplishments, through her works and poetry about women and their involvement or significant part in Irish history, culture and politics. In particular, her works or poems in “Outside History” states the advance presence of the female or woman’s voice in the patriarchal society, more specifically in the Republic of Ireland (Mc Grath, 1999). Boland describes woman, just as the title states, to be outside history. Personally, she sees that being a woman and writer of poems, is difficult for the Irish society to understand.
As such, in her works, it can be noted that she believes that woman long before had been outside history even with all the pain that woman had endured. If Beauvoir thinks of woman as the “other”, Boland sees woman to be in a situation that is distant, both to society and history itself. Even with the long history and all the hardships that she took, she (woman) is still regarded as an outsider. Regarding the slogan, “come along way”, in some of Boland’s poetry, she believes that woman, may have arrived late or that she is always late. Woman for Boland, just like Beauvoir and Freedman, indeed had a long way.
Woman has been in history all through this time, and yet, society still doesn’t recognize her as one separate being, an individual or human being that requires equality and capable of doing things for and in the society. Their roles, being branded as outsiders are limited. Just like Beauvoir and Freedman’s ideas or thoughts about woman (as either the significant “other” or the “second-class”), Boland believes that women are oppressed in certain ways. Woman’s rights and abilities are shrouded by the power and history of man, and thus in return, place her in an insignificant position, having a not so significant role, outside history.
If woman had indeed come along way, and even if woman does arrive, for Boland, she is already late, or was always late. Just like the three authors, I also believe that woman indeed has been struggling throughout history. Women are having a hard time in creating a society where they would be accepted as human beings or in a class parallel or equal to that of man. Even if women dominate in number, they are still being oppressed. Nowadays, woman had already achieved a lot of works and is now performing roles and tasks similar to that of man. I could say, through the use of these three authors’ works as evidence, that woman indeed had arrived.
These works that are greatly appreciated by the society are made by women, not by man. Today, women are also running for the government, some countries even had female presidents. Their power and capabilities had evolved and had gotten stronger, because of their efforts and because of conscious woman like these three authors. Unlike Boland, I believe that women are never late. They were overpowered before, but it did not stop them. Just the same as Beauvoir, I believe that woman had been simply overshadowed by men and men’s continuous oppression and abuse of their power to hide women in a mystery.
But unlike Freedman, I don’t believe that women are outside history. They had always been within history. Women had played important parts and significant roles in the lives of men. It might not be that obvious, but woman in some points of time, had surpassed man and arrived earlier than man expected.
Blunden, A. (1997, March 12, 2006). MIA Philosophy Resource Retrieved December 16, 2007, from http://www. marxists. org/reference/subject/ethics/de-beauvoir/2nd-sex/introduction. htm Freedman, E. B. (2007, November 9, 2007). Homepage of Estelle B. Freedman. Retrieved December 16, 2007, from http://ebf. stanford. edu/