After reading “The Cult of True Womanhood: 1820-1860”, I gained so much insight into the difficulties and struggles of being a woman during Edna’s time and how these struggles still exist for all women today. I am totally team Edna and respect all her decisions and think she is so courageous for standing up and standing out in the ways that she does. All throughout history women have been repressed and expected to submit to men and have no hopes or agency for themselves. In the time that Edna is living, there are very strict expectations for what she is and is not to do. She is suppose to attend church, she is suppose to serve her husband in whatever way he pleases, she is suppose to be faithful in all aspects of life, suppose make and receive visits to her house with other women in society at this time, and she is suppose to have no hobbies or interests of her own. As the book progresses, the reader begins to see Edna question all of these social constructs and begin to think for herself.
When she walked out of church, she was opposing views and beliefs that had been ingrained into her since she was a child. In this time, piety was one of the most virtuous quality a woman could possess and by walking out of the church that day, Edna was defying values that had been passed down for generations in her family and she was expected to uphold and pass down as well. All of this bullshit such as the calls to women’s houses and submissiveness to their husbands were things that the men in power, who were only men since they thought that women were completely incapable of anything of substance at this time, were social constructs to keep women busy and feel as if they were serving a purpose.
I have a huge problem with including the verb phrase “suppose to” in my vocabulary. It is something that my therapist and I have talked about a lot. Whenever I use it in a sentence or explanation of a feeling, this phrase is only including things and ideas that other people want for me but I do not want for myself. Edna is suppose to do all these because society and people told her to, but these things do not make her happy. Once she starts to paint and disobey her husband, she starts to feel happier but she is doing things she is “not suppose to do” and is looked down by society for it. For Edna I am going to say a huge fuck you to all the assholes of her time period and the men that still believe and enforce these rules today. I wish I had the power to give people in general, especially women, the freedom to do whatever the fuck they wanted to do without any judgments or comments from others. “Live Free or Die” is the motto printed on the New Hampshire license plate. I think this is a mantra that everyone could begin to embrace a bit more. Let go of the limitations and pressure society puts on people and do whatever oneself please to do. Keep doing you, Edna, because you are a fucking powerhouse woman and a true inspiration to me.