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Woman’s Identity: “Professions for Women” and “The Unrepentant Whore”

Michael Harris and Virginia Woolf both presented the difficulties and dangers that women faced daily while working with men. The authors describe two different occupation fields: Harris is focused on sex workers and Woolf on writers. Even though the settings in the articles are not identical, the principal purpose of both is incredibly similar. Woolf and Harris discussed the necessity for females to find their voice and finally reject the stereotypes about being vulnerable and tender to find their freedom.

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“Professions for Women” is widely recognized as an urgent message from Virginia Woolf to women to help them identify themselves at male-dominated positions. She states that women need to find their voice and challenge the following stereotypes, “Be sympathetic; be tender; flatter; deceive; use all the arts and wiles of our sex” (Woolf, 1942, p. 151). Woolf also mentions that women are usually denied their voice, “Never let anybody guess that you have a mind of your own. Above all, be pure” (Woolf, 1942, p. 151). Furthermore, the author presents her struggles in her career trying to battle these stereotypes. As a matter of fact, she created a metaphor of an Angel following her, “It was she who used to come between me and my paper when I was writing reviews” (Woolf, 1942, p. 150). Overall, Virginia Woolf’s main idea is to present the challenges of women who occupy the positions of lawyers or doctors, entirely surrounded by males (Woolf, 1942). I agree with her point that females should have an opportunity to achieve success by working hard and not by charming and lying their ways through men.

In “The Unrepentant Whore”, Michael Harris discusses the challenging lives of sex workers in Canada. Harris focuses on the fact that women do not always decide to become sex workers on their own, but because of the problems they face, they do so. The writer doubts that it is fair that these women are forced to live their lives as unfit and unwanted. Michael Harris claims that governments should protect sex workers as they are also humans created by God, “Canada’s laws deny sex workers the safety they are entitled to under the Constitution” (Harris, 2010, para. 34). The author displays how it threatens women to be associated with men since sex workers in Canada tend to be either killed or kidnapped from their houses. Overall, Michael Harris’s fundamental purpose is to familiarize people with the challenges and dangers sex workers in Canada face while working with males (Harris, 2010). I believe that the author’s idea is entirely justified since females of this profession might be forced to endure such pain and humiliation further as men view them only as sex objects and not actual humans.

As a matter of fact, both articles present the typical lives of women who occupy positions that are either dominated or associated with males. Virginia Woolf displays her career as a writer, where the literature is all defined by men and the most popular pieces are written by male authors (Woolf, 1942). She focuses on the challenges women have not fully overcome yet since society is strongly dominated by men, and women need more power to battle such a hierarchy. However, she acknowledges the fact that women nowadays face fewer stereotypes and do have their voice among men, “For the first time in history you are able to ask them” (Woolf, 1942, p. 154). Virginia Woolf, with her message, encourages women to find their way to achieve success and find their places without relying on men.

Similarly, Michael Harris discusses the dangers in the lives of sex workers in Canada and how challenging it is for them to find their voice and freedom. He describes the serial killer, Robert Pickton, kidnapping women to his pig farm and brutally murdering them (Harris, 2010). Furthermore, Harris doubts governmental policies for not protecting sex workers, “… our country had systematically imperiled the lives of these women with brutal laws that forced them to work in untenable conditions” (Harris, 2010, para. 2). As a result, women are being harassed and sexually abused by males, “… women — sex workers — were disappearing and nothing was being done” (Harris, 2010, para. 2). Harris also states that the government should urgently alternate policies to protect sex workers from being murdered, kidnapped, or simply feeling unfit and unwanted in the Canadian community.

Overall, the only difference between articles is that Woolf claims that women need to conquer stereotypes by unitedly overcoming the obstacles to achieving equal rights with males. Harris, however, believes that the government should also protect women from the male influence and its repercussions on their lives. On the whole, it can be concluded from both “Professions for Women” and “The Unrepentant Whore” that women will always face inequity in their lives. Therefore, they should be united in their strength and power to find their identity among men. In addition, it is vital for females not to stop and further battle injustice and overcome obstacles to become free from men eventually.

References

Harris, M. (2010). The unrepentant whore. The Walrus.

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Woolf, V. (1942). Professions for women. In The Death of the Moth and Other Essays, pp. 149-154.

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StudyCorgi. "Woman’s Identity: “Professions for Women” and “The Unrepentant Whore”." October 31, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/womans-identity-professions-for-women-and-the-unrepentant-whore/.

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "Woman’s Identity: “Professions for Women” and “The Unrepentant Whore”." October 31, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/womans-identity-professions-for-women-and-the-unrepentant-whore/.

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StudyCorgi. (2022) 'Woman’s Identity: “Professions for Women” and “The Unrepentant Whore”'. 31 October.

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