Professions for Women by Virginia Woolf

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Updated: Nov 30, 2023
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Professions for Women by Virginia Woolf

This essay will analyze Virginia Woolf’s “Professions for Women.” It will discuss Woolf’s views on the challenges faced by women in professional fields and her insights into gender norms and the societal expectations of women. At PapersOwl too, you can discover numerous free essay illustrations related to Racism.

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Have you ever asked yourself why people assume something of others by looks? In the chapter, Professions for Women written in 1931 by Virginia Woolf, who talks about her life and the difference she tried to make for all women in that period. She wanted her audience who were professional women to be able to figure out on their own what her story was about. Woolf talks about how she was unmasked and confused as she makes her readers understand what that means by putting themselves in her shoes around that time and by solving the mystery of what she is trying to say.

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Woolf addresses how women can do the same things men can and gender does not make any difference. One should agree not to judge based on appearance from getting something done. Woolf tries to discuss imagery by showing her readers how society will put men before her and all of the other women. Clearly, men are projective as superior to women, but not all men are stronger than women and should not be treated as a lower class.

In this chapter, Woolf says, For though men sensibly allow themselves great freedom in these respect. Which they condemn such freedom in women?(276). In other words, Woolf was trying to make a point right there by explaining how women were not allowed to do what men did. For example, learning anything or not being able to do the educational work. In addition, both genders are people because most are born with hands and legs and have hearts, lungs, and a brain so they all have the ability to think. Most importantly, the tools one human has should be enough to show everyone the basics of learning. During her time, men were seen with more knowledge and educated even though women of her time were starting to get their education. Although, some were intelligent it was unique to know that some women knew how to think just like men. Therefore, it was a strict societal perspective for women to have to obey and follow, but it was part of the society norm at that time.

Furthermore, Woolf goes into details about how women can do what most thought to be impossible for a female to learn and become smart. What Woolf was trying to say is that being a female should not stop them from getting a degree or have a business of their own. Also, in the chapter, Woolf states, Even when the path is nominally open-when there is nothing to prevent a woman from being a doctor, a lawyer, a civil servant-there are many phantoms and obstacles, as I believe looming in her way(277). Woolf was saying that women could make it big in life, but also referring that it can still take time since they must first earn their way up to achieve their goals. One reason, for certain is how in 1931 had a big change from this present time in 2018 for women who now have an education and a set of goals. Additionally, men also dominated the home sphere when they went to work while women were to remain at home as caregivers. Men were the main income earners to do their jobs, which effected the women in their lives since they were in control of where the money will go. Unfortunately, men were the ones in charge of what went on in the house so they were the ones doing the hard work. This is why Woolf wrote this chapter to show what she did behind their backs. Although, men try to act like the masters that did not stop women from giving up and proceeding because Woolf did talk about what she did to become a writer. To sum up, Woolf was one of these women who did the right thing because imagine if today women were prohibited from getting a degree or were not allowed to get any type of education.

In conclusion, people should never think something negative about someone without knowing the person first. At this time men would assume that all women could not learn and were not able to read and write. But Woolf wrote so we can know the past history because imagine if today the social norm still existed that female were seen as not important or like animals where they just had to work hard, but did not have the benefits to make the good amount of money. Now, both men and women should not take things for granted and appreciate things that they have because it is not the same then how it was a century ago. This social norm could effect men too since most have wives, mothers, and daughters and they must want for all of them to have a good future. Woolf was ahead of her time and what she writes about still rings true to try and break the social norms for women.

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Professions for Women by Virginia Woolf. (2019, Aug 01). Retrieved from