The media source that I found was an interview between Studs Terkel and Patricia O’Brien. They spoke at length about women in the society during the 1970’s. They focused on the March 20th Women’s Strike in 1970. She, among other feminists, were present that day speaking about the inequalities women face. In the interview they played an interview with a man who was present at the strike as well. He believed that the women should be content with their lives; he claimed that it was so grand he would consider changing genders. He saw that the women were just complaining because they just felt like it, there was no need for it. He thought that women shouldn’t complain that they are single, because they are doing this to themselves. O’Brien responded with a chuckle and simply said, “Well, that’s how they were raised”.

I could see this mentality challenged in The Female Man. Russ, in many sections of the novel, pushes those gender boundaries. She named the novel The Female Man for a reason. At this time all women were seen to need to do was get married and have babies, and that is exactly what O’Brien did. It wasn’t until she read the work of Betty Friedan that she was finally exposed to the inequalities there were in the world she lived in. Russ went out of the norm and portrayed women as strong and independent individuals, at times. Men in her novel were either non-existence or play a small role.


One response to “

  1. An idea to reflect and expand upon as well would be to consider what role men Did play in The Female Man, even though they were all very small, homogeneous parts in the novel. What I mean by this is to explore how they all seemed very self-oriented in their dealings with women, in that everything they said and did seemed to direct superiority and dominance back towards themselves in a never ending, ego-building cycle.
    Once that has been established within the text, how does this idea relate to how men are thought to supposed to behave in society? Look at the nature of frats on campus, men’s athletics, advertisements..


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