Blog #5: Symbolic interactionism, divorce, and Gilman

The distinction between men and women in our society is very clear. Symbolic interactionism emphasizes the idea of these gender differences being reinforced through institutions. When focusing on Gilman’s biography one can understand the way she feels towards gender inequalities. When a girl grows up she becomes so accostumed to the way others view her. The girl then becomes a women and she wants to be loved by a man. She devotes all her time and love to this man she is determined to be with for the rest of her life. Sadly, even though they have a child he chooses to do something so cruel to her, so she decides to divorce him. In Gilman’s era that woman is then stigmatized for life. She is viewed as an irresponsible woman because she “gave away her child.” Interestingly, this is what happened to Gilman. After she divorced her husband she was criticized by many because she had a child with him. All around the world women are constantly getting blamed for the things that her husband does to her. Institutions have definitely manipulated societies views about women. I completely agree with Gilman in that socialization is dynamic and subject to change. Societal views are tangible but permanent. Women are currently stigmatized, and this is not something that can easily be changed. In reading Gilman’s perspective I couldn’t help but think about Marx. He spoke a lot about capitalisim being negative to society. Interestingly, capitalism has brought exploitation of women to parts of the world that were untouched by such ideas. Women were used for pleasure and for beauty. Reading Gilman’s life story make us all have class consciousness about what is really going onin the world.


2 responses to “Blog #5: Symbolic interactionism, divorce, and Gilman

  1. At first, I was going to disagree with you. I was going to say that when a woman is abused by her husband, she isn’t blamed for the divorce and the bad light is cast on the abuser husband. However, I thought about it a little more and there are many instances where the wife is blamed for her husband’s rage. “She asked for it” is a common go to explanation. Thankfully these dangerous ideas are not commonly accepted anymore. Also, the spouse that leaves the family, whether it be man or woman, are stigmatized. The man that abandons his family gets as much flack as the woman who does. Women might get more criticism simply because it’s not as common for a woman to leave her children. It used to happen so little that it’s probably viewed as something unnatural.

  2. I agree with you 100%, her story was very heart warming and sad. Stigmas about the female species have came a long way and kudos for that. The sad part is that these stigmas still have a long way to go. Divorce was a big step for a female and sadly made her seems like the bad person because how females were perceived. Many people were so enthralled by the idea that the male was the head of the house, so they believed they could cause no danger. Women were seen as a product, someone who must listen, one who can not voice themselves, basically they were dehumanized. I praise Gilman for starting a new pave for women!

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