Virginia Woolf and Her Works as Mediums of Feminism
Virginia Woolf was among the rare writers who have put their talents and ideologies into writings, particularly as a patron of equality to women. Considered as one of the founders of feminism, there were quite a number of literary works that show Woolf's passion for promoting feminism. Some of this includes the following literary masterpieces.
To the Lighthouse
A Room on One's Own (1929)
Three Guineas (1938)
Women and Fiction (1929)
Professions for Women (1929)
Much of Woolf's literatures depicted her strict criticism on how the society put little importance to the female gender. Also, she showed in the context of her works how prominent the female gender can play important roles in the society, both socially and politically. Much of Woolf's works have in fact depicted political thoughts that have endeared the hearts and minds of many readers.
The information written in the following pages of this paper will aim to explore how Virginia Woolf's works have influenced feminism. Included in the discussion are the ideologies and philosophies that she has embedded and conversed in many of her works. Moreover, this paper will aim to discover how the novels, essays, and articles of Virginia Woolf had furthered the feminist movement.
Virginia Woolf and her Influences in Feminism
There are so many reasons why Virginia Woolf has made an influence to feminism and most of those reasons can be seen from her literary works themselves. Aside from the individual personality of Woolf as a supporter of the female gender, her influences can be derived from her intelligence in writing her feminist philosophies that have captured and appealed to the belief of the masses. In general, how Virginia Woolf has influenced feminism and the feminist movement is caused by the following factors.
Virginia Woolf has great thoughts that regards to feminism and the feminism's important role in the society.
Virginia Woolf, who has the talent in writing, has put her great thoughts into writings that were basically one way of instantly disseminating information if one would want himself or herself to be heard; and Woolf did it through the novels, articles, and essays that she had written.
Virginia Woolf did not only excel in writing issues concerning feminism, but also in other topics that perhaps made her believable and admirable to people. Thus, her talent in the art of writing became a means for her views to be heard including feminism that has influenced many people.
Discussing further on the aspect of Woolf's talent in writing, that has been one of the reasons why her views and perceptions concerning feminism have created a big hit to the masses, can be proven by the following note about Woolf (Susan Dick).
She has been praised, for example, for her contribution to biographical criticism, for her emphasis on the importance of a writer's historical and social context, and for the ways in which she explores the art of writing itself, not only in the content of her essays but also in their form and language.
Further, Susan Dick, from an online article, indicated the following characteristic of Woolf's writings, proving the power of her art as a writer.
The form of her critical writing, mixing as it often does imaginative, fictional construction with more traditional discursive prose, has received increased attention in the 1980s and 1990s.
Woolf's wide knowledge of history has perhaps gave way to her criticisms that concerns the role of women in society. A few of her masterpieces, such as A Room of One's Own, Women and Fiction, Three Guineas, and the Professions of Women, have tackled issues on the living and work conditions of women as compared to that of the male genders (Virginia Woolf Online). Her wide perspective that history had brought her helped her assess numerous issues, both of the past's and the contemporary's. One example is the patriarchal form of education that excludes women, as well as that refuses to recognize the ability of women. In A Room of One's Own, Woolf had forcefully revealed this issue, wherein a female writer was metaphorically depicted to have the right of having money and her own room, and had caused many women of the time to be awaken by the discrimination of the society. The success of A Room of One's Own in influencing feminism was indicated by Susan Dick, from her online article, stating that
A Room of One's Own has been enormously influential for Anglo-American
Feminist Theory and Criticism. For one thing, it inspired many subsequent writers to look for literary ancestors in both well-known and lost women writers from the past. It led to a process of "thinking back through our mothers," as Jane Marcus titled an article on Woolf (in Art and Anger), and writers like Alice Walker (in her 1983 In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens) credit Room as inspirational.
Woolf's feminist context in her works led to awakening the society because of its intentional attack on the authorities that allow discrimination against women. Her essays and fictions do not just metaphorically assess the impediments on women from living better lives, but similarly directs them to both the private and public figures.
A Room of One's Own became one of the most important medium that further feminist movement. How it influenced the female gender was forcefully implied on how the women in the story were deprived of rights to equality. A Room of One's Own depicted that women are no better than men, and were deprived of the right to education and whose role in life were basically dictated by men, such as only to take care of her husband and children and take care of the household chores.
The same view on the importance of women that Woolf displayed in A Room of One's Own was also depicted in her 'To the Lighthouse', where much of the characters were basically symbolisms of how people live in her time. In 'To the Lighthouse', Woolf had shown that the power of women is as effective as that of the men's. From the characters of Mrs. Dalloway and Mrs. Ramsay, Woolf expressed to her readers that women as leaders can perform their duties well. An online source indicated this similar analysis, indicating that
Furthermore, as feminism was becoming popular during her days, Woolf partook in its movement. She believed that women could be in charge and that women were not inferior to men. Although done in an implied sense, Mrs. Dalloway and Mrs. Ramsay each represent how impressive of a leader woman can be as a social and emotional leader of a household.
In general, the different context in Virginia Woolf's writings, demonstrating her concerns for equality for women had been the factors that provided influences to feminism. The different instances in her articles and stories that show discrimination against women, and the powerful way that Woolf did to display the oppressions that women had experienced and are experiencing from the authorities of the male gender, had provided great impact on the social status of her readers, especially those that belong to the female gender.
Virginia Woolf's Literatures, Furthering the Feminist Movement
The writings of Virginia Woolf can be considered to have played a major role in furthering the feminist movement during the 1970s where publishings of diverse feminist articles and essays, promoting women's interest and awareness on their role in the society. Woolf, having to have written great number of great literatures, became one of the influences of the feminist movements. One of the reasons perhaps why Woolf's influences concerning feminism still live in the 1970s was because her works have remained controversial and subject to criticisms even after several decades after they had been written.
While the apparent differences that Woolf had seen between the male and the female genders during her time had been the instruments and causes of some of her feminist writings, the women of the next generations have considered such works of Woolf as comparisons to how their society currently runs. Woolf's art had provided the feminist movements with basis on the things that they find to be oppressing to the female gender.
In 1970, during the time when there had been a development for feminism ideologies, the feminist movement, which was a group of female writers, had began printing their views and perceptions especially on the opposing culture of considering men as the only powerful authority in society. Woolf's works have indeed played an important role in the feminist movement. As how Virginia Woolf took a position in attacking the incorrect practices in the society of her time regarding the low conditions of women, the feminist movement did similar thing for the women of their time. They used journalism as a means to reveal their concerns and views. They even used their writings in politics. Louise Tweedie, from her article The Suppression of Women's Writing, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, stated the following that indicates how the feminist movement finds…