One of the main ideas of Virginia Woolf’s essay is that women have the same rights to professional and personal development as men. With this text, she tried to show how deep a person’s inner world can be, regardless of gender. She achieved multiple goals herself, but she understands that women still have a long way to emancipation. Turning to history, one can conclude that Woolf’s words about the harmlessness of writing are not entirely true. Many women adopted male pseudonyms so as not to be criticized by society based on gender stereotypes.
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Thanks to her ancestors, Woolf could get about five hundred pounds a year. This allowed her to be independent enough and buy what she needed. In particular, she could sometimes afford something in addition to basic needs, such as purchasing a cat. Living alone, she managed to “kill the angel at home”: this creature personifies the main feminine qualities. According to Woolf (180), this angel is a submissive and quiet being, collecting all men’s demands from women. Now the expectations from women are similar; however, due to emancipation, there are many less of them.
When Woolf was supposed to write a review about a male author, she had to struggle with her inner voice. It demanded to be careful and not express her opinion, following a “nominally” open path for a woman. In other words, she had to agree with the man in everything and become his shadow. However, her strong character and imagination allowed her to express what she actually thinks. In fact, men also sometimes need to fulfill society’s demands: to be strong, make money, and avoid strong emotions. These stereotypes persist to this day, clearly dividing gender roles in society. However, there have been significant changes in the degree of their manifestation, and now people have more freedom.
Woolf, Virginia. The Death of the Moth & Other Essays: The Original 1942 Edition. Musaicum Books, 2017.