Why is it that throughout history, women are portrayed as the weak, the helpless, or the hindrances in a man’s journey?
Across cultures, women are stereotyped as the stay-home caretakers of the children, and expected to cook, clean, and cater to their husbands needs and wants. In the Roman Empire era, women were just that- they stayed home, bore children, cooked, cleaned, and tended to their houses. Women were almost always below men. However, the case is not that simple now. Throughout the years, the role of women have increased drastically; they hold high career positions, are allowed to participate in the army, can teach and educate others, and are still fighting for more rights. Although one may think that these should have been rights given to women from the start, that was not the case. Since the beginning of time, women have always been inferior to men, whether it be physically, socially, or mentally. They were portrayed as weak, a burden, or a hindrance to a man’s journey in life.
Society has shown and delivered that women should take the easy course and stay home to take care of the household chores, rather than participating in social events. This was because women were viewed as incompetent, powerless, and feeble figures. They had no right to act or speak as they wished, and also had to dress to fit into society’s norms.
In Virgil’s the Aeneid, women are illustrated as exactly this. Aeneas, the protagonist, is a great warrior who is to found Italy, late the Roman Empire, and submits his personal desires to Fate and does what he is destined to do. He is put through a great amount of obstacles, some of the biggest ones being women. Dido, the queen of Carthage, is shot with a love arrow and comes to love Aeneas, but later becomes a hindrance to him and the journey to Italy he is to take. She was already a widow but became blinded by burning love and desperation, even willing to take her own life when Aeneas left her. Virgil portrayed her as weak and as the cause of her and her fledgling kingdom’s downfall. Her own “selfish” personal reasons is the cause of the end of the kingdom. She is portrayed to have abandoned all of her responsibilities for her own desires, and be the one to blame for the undoing of Carthage.
I believe that women are meant for something greater than just to sit and wait at home to cook, clean, or subside by their husbands. “They are the smartest and toughest female business leaders, entrepreneurs, investors, scientists, philanthropists and CEOs making their mark in the world today.” For example, Hillary Clinton is the first woman candidate who has made it into the top two presidential candidates in the history of the United States of America. She is considered the second most successful and powerful women in the world. She has much influence over the people around her, and especially women. Her being one of the choices to become president of America marks an extraordinary trip that women have made throughout history. She, and other successful women figures, can be icons of hope for other women who feel suppressed due to their gender. Angela Merkel can be another aspiration of empowering women. This German chancellor convinced “…ailing EU brethren such as Greece and Spain to aspire to German fiscal and legal logic, and on the other hand to persuade Germany’s own constituents and political egos to buy in to her solutions, is illustrated by a European Union that in 2016 remains standing.” Also, pop-star Beyonce is another modern feminist icon. She writes her songs to encourage women around the world of different cultures to take charge and be the strong, independent ladies they were born to be. Although I am not super pro-feminist, though I am a girl myself, i believe that women should take charge and strive to be the best they can be in their surrounding environment and be people that better the world through their words and actions.
Unlike Dido, who was portrayed as weak and stupid for loving so passionately, enough to cause her kingdom to fail, that image of women have changed. Women are now the backbone, a necessity, and some of the most important characters in the world. Of course, being the traditional stay-home woman is not a problem, but don’t let society dictate what a girl should and should not do.