Objectification of a Woman

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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The history of literature, the lack of female recognition and has been seen by many eyes, and many voices have gone unheard when speaking on the issue. Feminism is defined as the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes, and throughout The Invisible Man, we see this definition being crushed and belittled by the lack of female representation in the book. The women are crafted from stereotypes and sexually objectified when they do appear throughout the novel.

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The objectification of a woman can involve many things, but commonly we see women being viewed as an object of male sexual desire rather than as a person. Ellison exhibits this type of behavior all throughout the novel in multiple different scenarios. In the beginning of the book, the narrator literally has a dream of a naked black woman being sold, which gives us our first insight into how the objectification of women plays into the novel. This shows how a woman is being treated and sold like an actual object or a piece of property. Even at the battle royal, there’s a woman there to distract and almost hypnotize the men as they prepare to fight eachother. Ellison uses this to show the power that female sexualization has, and he gives the idea that women flaunt their sexuality to get what they want. In chapter 14, a woman named Emma uses her sexuality to convince the narrator to join the brotherhood. The narrator might have made a different decision if Emma had not been present to taunt him and brother jack’s proposal would have most likely been turned down. At a different point, Ras accuses Clifton of joining the brotherhood at the promise of women. Because he acknowledges the use of women being used for bribery, the power of sexuality and sexual drive is seen. In the novel, as brother Clifton and the narrator are leaving a brotherhood meeting, they encounter an attack of black men led by Ras the Exhorter. After some threats, he makes his accusation. “Hell mahn! Is it self-respect – black against black? What they give you to betray – their women? You fall for that?”

In this case he shames both the narrator and brother clifton because it is true that the brotherhood only uses these women to lure more men in. In all of the situations used by Ellison, there is a woman being used as a sexual tool to appeal to a man’s sexual drive and easily persuade in order to achieve a desired goal. While Ellison attempts to deconstruct racial inequality, he also reinforces gender inequality by having a lack of major female characters in general. Just like our narrator, most of the women in the novel lack names. The lack of attention given to females in the novel makes them seem insignificant to the narrator and his story, although the women play a big part in the development of his personality. Like the narrator, society depersonalizes a woman and treats them as if they aren’t human. Though the narrator seemingly has many meanless encounters with women throughout the novel, they actually help to reveal the integral position that women play in his life. The women aid the invisible man in recognizing the power and danger of his own invisibility. Even though Ellison wrote female characters to seem insignificant to the invisible man, there are many obvious signs that these women played a great part in the development of the invisible man’s evolution.

Mary Rambo is the only lead female character we see that has a big part in the novel, yet she also fits into a motherly stereotype that we often see characters being forced into by authors. Upon encountering the narrator on the street, she assumes a role that can only be described as motherly, as she says things like, “I’ll take care of you like I done a heap of others.” Mary serves as the stern mother figure who guides the invisible man in his journey to develop responsibility, but she still isn’t credited enough. While Mary is an active character, she never really seems to be present. She’s written as any other woman in the novel despite her big role. When it comes down to a feminist view on Invisible man, readers can conclude that the lack of female representation is crucial to the significance of the story. Evidence such as the obvious objectification of women, major lack of female character, and stereotypical female figures, is presented in Ellison’s novel to prove the inequality of females in the american society.

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Objectification of a Woman. (2021, Mar 20). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/objectification-of-a-woman/