A Successful Society
During the 1900's, the stereotypes against women were viewed stronger than they are today. This meaning inequality was more of a concern then, compared to now. A book that alludes to the issues of the time is the book Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Herland is about a group of men who explore a society built completely by women, containing only women. To contribute to the discussion against inequality and get readers to see women in a more positive way, Gilman disproves the stereotypes of women in Herland and shows the focus on Herland, which is one of cooperation and equality.
In the book, the women of Herland have built their own society and have survived there for many years without men. Through this, Gilman shows the quality of self- reliance through the women. The stereotype that women are unable to make it on their own or without a man is then proven wrong. Specifically, at the end of chapter 4 it states,
"You can well imagine that it is a wonderful event to us, to have men among us—after two thousand years. And we want to know about your women." (Gilman 40).
In this quote, some of the women from Herland explain to the men that they have lived without men for two thousand years. This comes as a shock to them men as when they first arrived they saw perfectly built buildings and a beautiful built land. Gilman shows through the quote that these women have lived without any man for so long, to prove that women can rely on themselves and they have not needed men in order to build a successful society.
As women weren't seen to be self-reliant they were also not seen as very smart. However, the stereotype is proven wrong as the women are seen to have physically built a whole society and have been able to develop a whole new language in which they teach their children. The women are so intelligent as they have figured out how to build their own land and such well-made buildings, out in unknown country. The women are also intelligent in the fact that they want to learn more from the men and their world. They are open to learning about the men's way of living and their language. In the book, the women are able to teach the men the language used in Herland through a book and a tutor. This shows clearly how intelligent these women are.
Another very common stereotype seen against women, is that they are weak. However, it is shown clearly in the beginning of Herland, the great strength the women in the society are capable of. Thus, quickly disproving the stereotype. In Herland, the women are able to control the men and outrun them when they first enter their land.
"Instantly each of us was seized by five women, each holding arm or leg or head; we were lifted like children, straddling helpless children, and borne onward, wriggling indeed, but most ineffectually." (Gilman 20).
This quote shows the physical strength the woman have as they are able to capture the men and hold them to a point where they feel helpless. Gilman's disproval of women being weak opens the minds of readers by getting them to see women as strong and agile.
Through each quality the women show in the book, they all come together to support the focus of Herland which is cooperation and equality. Gilman shows that the women in Herland are strong, but they are the strongest together. Every time the men have tried to escape, the women have come together and controlled the men. They all cooperate and in result have a society of no problems. Not only is there not any problems because of cooperation but also because Herland is like one big family. Equality is a major aspect to the success of Herland. In Herland, there is no domination. Children are not subordinate as they do not have last names. Equality is best represented in the book through the characters Jeff and Celis. They are the two who have the most successful relationship in the book as Jeff is able to see himself