Williams and Woolf: Two Views of Feminism

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Virginia Woolf and Patricia Williams, though writing with more than six decades apart, tackle strikingly similar issues affecting women–especially professional women–in their respective times and worlds.The details of the inequalities they experience and the solutions they suggest or imply to remedy these inequalities are quite different in some instances, however, as are the methods they employ to present the situations and solutions to the reader.Both logically build a casefirst to show that there is withoutquestion a gender bias, and then to examine this causes and possible remedies.But while Virginia Woof takes a broad political view of the situation, augmented by specific examples from history and close readings of texts with female authors, Williams approach is more personal.Through anecdotes and imagery, Williams makes the struggle a more personal and individually relevant struggle.Woolf's logic is possibly superior but her delivery is drier and more academically stiff.The main reason for the differences of these styles could well be the audiences these two women were addressing–in terms of historical and geographical location, class, and other factors, the intended readers of these two women's words called for vastly different approaches to the subject.
Virginia Woolf's book-length essay, A Room of One's Own, grew out of two papers she read to assemblies of upper-class, well-educated people in her native Great Britain.The subject of the papers was to be "Women and Fiction;" much of the essay centers on the research Woolf conducted on this topic and the impossibility of addressing the issue of feminine authorship without addressing the gender bias when it came to things like access to information and other chauvinisms of scholarship.In her time, women were still not allowed in many academic institutions and even libraries often had gender-based restrictions.This is why W…