Female Gender Stereotypes in Oscar Wilde ́s "The Picture of Dorian Gray"

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GRIN Verlag, 2009 - 24 pages
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Seminar paper from the year 2007 in the subject English - Literature, Works, grade: 2, University of Bamberg (Lehrstuhl fur Englische Literaturwissenschaft), course: Oscar Wilde Hauptseminar, language: English, abstract: 1. The Fin de Siecle: A Battle between as well as within the Sexes In her book Sexual Anarchy Elaine Showalter claims that "the fin de siecle was not only a battle between but also within the sexes" . The words "feminism" and "homosexuality" first came into use because New Women and male aesthetes redefined the meanings of femininity and masculinity and there were fears that emancipated women would bear children outside of marriage, or worse, that they would not have children at all. Playwrights like Arthur Pinero and Bernard Shaw choose womens oppression as themes for their works as well as Thomas Hardy, George Meredith and George Moore who wrote about the precarious situation of women in their novels. The fin de siecle was also a period of sexual scandals (there were problems with brothels, child prostitution and the sexual epidemic of syphilis), which changed the level of public awareness about sexuality. The Victorians "sought political emancipation, with a faith in the liberal tenets of individual freedom, equality, and autonomy [and] Individualism," they were very rational and progressive in economical matters but they were terribly insecure in social ones. This cultural insecurity led to the longing for strict border controls around the definition of gender, race, class and nationality: People thought if men and women could be fixed in their separate spheres, there could be preserved a comforting sense of identity and permanence.

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