Everyone wants to drown in pleasant dreams from time to time, just to dilute the dull reality. If I was given a choice to meet anyone who lived in the past or is still alive, it would be a writer, poet and feminist activist Charlotte Perkins Gilman. I was amazed when I read her short semi-autobiographical story The Yellow Wallpaper and my delight with this woman continued when I researched the story of her life. It was satisfying food for mind and it raised a lot of questions I would like to ask her. She already answered why she wrote the story – to help the others, especially women, avoid craziness caused by forced inactivity (Gilman 1913) – but the deeper reasons are still unclear. For example, I am eager to discover the source of her courage, which gave her strength to criticize the stereotypes connected with the role of women in society. It must have been terrifying to defy the axiom that women, as fragile and nervous beings, were not to pursue some personal or career goals and be busy with self-improvement, but had to be homemakers only, that no intellectual stimulation was needed for them. Life became easier for us in the 21st century with women’s suffrage won by previous generations. Mrs. Gilman – she was among those who fought for it and subsequently secured it. For sure it would also be interesting to hear her opinion about the results of female movement advancement. I am convinced she would be displeased to hear that the Congress is still unable to handle women’s reproductive health or that we are still treated as less professional compared to men, which is clearly traced from the wage rate. The fact that American women are paying considerably more attention to superficial aspects of their lives now, thus gradually becoming complacent with the state of gender equality, bothers me. Based on that, I would ask her to give a piece of advice to the young girls and women of modern America. I have no doubts that this wise and creative woman could offer some constructive and valuable improvements in gender-biased society.
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