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What I've Learned from Men - Essay Example

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This essay analyzes Barbara Ehrenreich’s work "What I’ve Learned from Men". After perusing her points and arguments, one may be left scratching one’s head because the author appears out of touch. Here is the idea: Ms. Ehrenreich has painted two pictures, that of a man and a woman…
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What Ive Learned from Men
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Download file to see previous pages Essentially, the writer was admonishing women to toughen up: that being tough is the most important lesson she and most women should learn from men. To rationalize this she cited many arguments that - in the process - depicted an idea of women from the author’s perspective. She first used a personal experience as an example. In a convention, she met a prestigious professor who invited her to his room. The invitation was supposed to be for the purpose of the meeting of the minds or something to that effect. Ms. Ehrenreich obliged, so she found herself with the professor in his room - in a conversation that turned out to be more than intelligent discourse. The man made several passes and sexual innuendos. From a simple and rigid perspective, the conclusion one would get would be, of course, repulsion. The author was properly disgusted, as the professor grew more and more lecherous by the minute. But there is more than what meets the eye in this situation. When a man - who is still virtually a stranger - invites a woman to his room, there is some sexual undertone to that gesture. It is going to be an intellectual discourse, so why not a more casual setting like a cafe or the bar? The room is an intimate place and the invitation should already hint something more than simply “meeting of the minds”. If Ms. Ehrenreich has helpfully provided the exact invitation, her readers might have no difficulty identifying it as a pick-up line. The author accepted, so in principle, she is accommodating the initial overtures. And to think that she still stayed for 20 minutes. She must have perplexed the professor immensely. It is very difficult not to think about the author as naive and that is saying something because she stated that she is already thirty years old. She actually blushed while recounting the episode. Later in her article, Ehrenreich would claim that “we (women) tend to assume that it is our responsibility to keep everything “nice”. Unfortunately, she did not provide a factual basis or empirical evidence to back this claim. But the question begs to be asked: Is it really the case? Do that women assume that role? It is perhaps part of her argument that women are trained to be ladylike all their lives. She defined “ladylikeness” as persistent servility masked as “niceness”. One is hard-pressed to disagree with this point. It is unfair to claim that this is the case in American society when women are accepted across all positions and roles that are unladylike in the author’s book. There are women in the police force, in the army, in politics. There are female CEOs who most assuredly have climbed the corporate ladder not by being ladylike. It is also unfair to claim that American women are weak and that they need to toughen up. It is not uncommon for women to be aggressive these days, to be ambitious and to get and do what they want. Gender equality has been institutionalized in America. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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