Comparison: Image of Women

Throughout history, there are many famous names such as Caesar, Charles VII, Rousseau, Albert Einstein, Ronald Regan, and Donald Trump. However, these are famous men. There are famous women too such as Abigail Adams and Michelle Obama but their fame was based on challenging the stereotypes. There is a common criticism of “Can anyone seriously believe a woman?” because this world upholds an image that a women’s strength is in her anger and fashion. This motive is exemplified in a famous Roman epic poem, The Aeneid, in which it places men in a positive light than their female counterparts, as well as the US government, in which the female role is not supposed to be in politics.

In The Aeneid, the female characters seemed to be the group causing trouble for the main character, Aeneas, such as sea storms, distractions, and wars. Goddess or mortal, they are the ones starting drama and conflicts for Aeneas From a contemporary perspective, it seems sexist to only used females to cause destruction because it places menaeneid in a higher light or a sort of halo on them thus depicting the male gender as the innocent victim and honest worker of society. For example, when Juno sent Iris to create destructive anger among the Trojan women, this places the men in a positive light that highlights their skilled attributes like hard-working and strong but the Trojan females are given a negative light such as describing them as quick to anger, verbal harassers, destructive, and irritating. This conflict further establishes the negative image of women who are disastrous and troublesome as opposed to the positive image of men who are powerful and peaceful.

While The Aeneid condemns the idea of women having power, the 2016 US presidential election mocks women achieving any power. Putting aside the policies, there is this mockery and distrust surrounding the Democratic candidate, Hilary Clinton, due to her gender such as being attractive enough to pass as a man. Her campaign was built upon becoming the first female president because becoming a president or a powerful person in government was always a male issue.  According to Anamika Ojha, she quotes Erika Falk from her article “Women for President”, “the press portrays female candidates as unviable, unnatural, and incompetent, and often ignores or belittles women instead of reporting their ideas and intent. This thorough comparison of men’s and women’s campaigns reveals a worrisome trend of sexism in press coverage, a trend that still persists today.”  It is unbecoming for a woman to voice her ideas, she should show off her clothes and her body as her voice. This stereotype ignores women as intellectual humans and instead treat women as a doll. Females are not supposed to have power or control, they are supposed to have the latest Coach purse and pink nails. The condemnation of women having power is evident in Hilary 2016 presidential campaign because it is challenging the dainty image of a female.

They say history repeats itself. Although the modern century does not rely on deities, it does carry the negative image of women as it does in the past. Women from the past and the women from the present hold a commonality- lack of respect in man’s world. Will there ever be an end to sexism?

Groch-Begley, Hannah. “A Comprehensive Guide To Sexist Attacks On Hillary Clinton From The 2008 Campaign.” Media Matters for America. Media Matters for America, 12 June 2014. Web. 02 Nov. 2016.

Ojha, Anamika. “Why the United States Has Never Had a Woman President.” The Huffington Post., 13 Oct. 2015. Web. 02 Nov. 2016.

Virgil, Robert Fagles, and Bernard Knox. Virgil The Aeneid. London: Penguin Classics, 2006. Print.


One thought on “Comparison: Image of Women

  1. There are actually a great number of female leaders throughout history and to provide a counter-example from the Aeneid you have Dido. Dido, the founder of Carthage and one of Aeneas’ love interests, is a great leader in the novel. She essentially builds up Carthage without the help of a spouse because her husband was dead. And today even there are numerous female leaders, probably more than there have ever been at any other point in history. To name some it would be Angela Merkel, Dilma Rouseff, Sonia Ghandi, and Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. I do agree that there exists a high level of sexism especially in the modern political system, it is becoming easier for women to have a say in politics.


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