Obstacle Women Face in Pursuit of Equality

When it comes to overcoming obstacles, two essays, “Ain’t I a Woman” and “Watching Oprah Winfrey” from Behind the Veil,” clearly show that women are encountering hindrances in chase of impartiality all over the world. However, although both essays touch on the same type of injustice which is gender inequality, they each have different themes. For instance, one delves into a country where the sexes are thoroughly kept apart from each other, where topics like sex and race are just about banned for even discussing them openly and where a severe enigma of public morality is imposed by police that are religious. However, the other touches on a period that goes back over a hundred of years where women of color were treated as cattle. Basically bought and sold by a society ran by men. Although these essays are worlds apart, they are yet close because they explore how women are mistreated and handled like they are second class citizens. Each essay explores a world that are dominated by women. By showing the existence of this hypocrisy that is current in the life of one oppressed woman, Sojurner Truth where she manages to invites her audience to understand possible inequalities in their own lives, while the other uses a popular icon such as Oprah Winfrey in the media to show how oppressed society is against women. Both essays explore that gender inequalities and how they stem from social structures that that have theses institutionalized conceptions of gender differences. These essays also search the social process in two different times in history and displays how current policies in place can are able to have some kind of affect on people, particularly women in both cases. It is obvious that discrimination takes place in this manner as men and women are subject to prejudicial treatment on the basis of gender alone.

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Obstacle Women Face in Pursuit of Equality

When it comes to overcoming obstacles for women, it is clear that gender inequalities are one of those barriers. Supporting women in order to participate equally in organizations and profit from revenue producing investments and activities is an extremely intricate procedure. The realisms of gender inequality actually start to complicate efforts when it comes to transforming them. In a lot of areas cultures of patriarchal domination or basically men running everything means that active and effective contribution of women and men in projects is problematic to attain. Without having the proper education when can run into some great obstacles, and to a lesser extent men, to contribute and particularly take up effective management and leadership roles in their organizations. In addition most women have heavy domestic workloads and responsibilities, and numerous have little or no control over industrious assets. By using essays “Ain’t I a Woman” and “Watching Oprah From behind the Veil” will be able to discuss the most reliable obstacle women face in pursuit of equality.

When it comes to “Ain’t I a Woman” Sojourner found a way to establish some kind of sense of identity as a victim of discrimination by describing how she encounters bigotries as a black person and as a woman so as to provoke an emotional reaction in her audience. By using these personal stories, Sojourner was able to bring her audience, who are typically women who were suffering from their own types of discrimination, to understand the prejudices of which they too are sufferers. Sojourner in her speech even goes so far to points out a man in the crowd, requesting that he says “women need to be lifted over ditches, and helped into carriages, and have the best place everywhere.”

Directly following this description of the way a white man was re-counting the way to treat women, she follows with a personal disproof. Sojourner frankly calls outs that no one performs these civilities for her, and she highlights this point by echoing each of the activities: “Nobody gives, or over mud-puddles, or gives me the best place!” By juxtaposing this perfect way of how a man mentions women need to be treated with courtliness with the realism that she has never went through any of this politeness, Sojourner is pointing out the existence of a brutal two-facedness.

The Veil, In Jeff Jacoby’s point-of-view Oprah Winfrey seems to find a way appeals to a lot of women in Saudi Arabia for the reason that she exemplifies the perfect of what the Saudi Arabian women want their life to be. It is obvious that Oprah provides them with a sense of hope that even if the women are wedged in an unhappy circumstances, where they are not able to have any type of control over their life, that they are able to discover a way to take control in lesser ways and have a life that is beneficial for them. Although Oprah Winfrey did not come of age under the same conditions as a lot of these women did, she was confronted with issues that were almost the same. Her life was no walk in the park, she too dealt with poverty and oppression. Many Saudi Arabian women are “Forbidden to drive, vote, to freely marry or divorce, to appear in public without a male guardian’s permission-not even in cases of domestic abuse when it is their “guardian” who attacked them. Nonetheless Oprah and these women were able to share the dreams of getting away from a corrupt world. Also, Oprah was able to come out on top and pursue her goals and dreams, now Oprah has her own channel and goes around teaching these women how to make their dreams come true and how to deal with a lot of disappointments going on in life. Women are needed as a group with which to fight the dissent of men and appease the West (Arabia). The state coopts women’s aspirations in order to achieve new local and external legality.

When it comes to obstacles, both essays display this perfectly. However, one main theme stands out which in the inequality of women. For instance in “Ain’t I a Woman” black and white women were separated and the white women were considered the treasure whereas the black woman was looked at as being the one that is less desirable. “Women’s causes do not directly challenge authoritarian rule.” (Frings-Hessami) According to this statement, women can make changes without involving government even though the men are in charge. Men ran the show and called the shots of the standards of beauty and how a woman should be treated. For instance, white men during the times of slavery believed that women should be placed on a pedestal. White men thought that women should be helped into carriages and lifted over ditches (Truth 531). They likewise assumed that women should never have to walk over mud and should have a nice place to live. The author makes it obvious in her argument that she was not getting that kind of treatment in any kind of way. She makes the point that, “Look at my arm! Look at me! I have planted and ploughed, and collected into barns, and no man could head (which means help) me! Ain’t I a woman?”(Truth 531).

In Watching Oprah From Behind The Veil, the obstacle perceptibly shows gender inequality just like in “Ain’t I a Woman” for instance, a recent article in this newspaper – “Oprah lifts a Saudi veil” — talks about the petition of America’s iconic talk-show host for the downgraded and the mistreated women of the Arabian cape. “In a country where the sexes are rigorously separated, where topics like sex and race are rarely discussed openly and where a strict code of public morality is enforced by religious police,” the article noted, “Oprah manages to make sure that she gives a lot of young Saudi women new methods of thinking in regards to the way local taboos have emotional impact on their lives. Some of the women say that Winfrey’s is very influential — and gives off such self-confidence. Oprah has had a way of making the women feel as though they can do anything no matter how restricted or even abusive their circumstances are, they can are able to take control and produce lives of value – assists them in discovering some kind of meaning in their cramped, veiled existence.”

On the other hand, it can go deeper within gender inequality and be recognized as being gender apartheid. Why is it called gender apartheid? Well, as mentioned in “Ain’t I a Woman” the men are the ones that run the shows and, the women have to settle for being second class citizens. In Watching Oprah From behind the Veil the men are the ones with power, the ones who are looked up to whereas the women are left alone with the kids no one to take care of them with no food and no job. Some of these women were forced to stand on the streets and beg for money and food in hopes that someone will provide for them what they are looking for. Also, this show a relationship to the of women and how they are looked at through the eyes of the television, men, and individuals on the whole. When it comes to the workforce men are usually the ones that are looked at as being the ones that are on top of the game while women can only dream of being on top of the game but are just given more difficulty and more tasks that they have to accomplish so as to get what they desire. In “Watching Oprah From behind the Veil” it is displayed how women are banned from coming into particular places, for instance Saira Shah the reporter, was arrested on the spot in Kandahar which is the southern city of Pakistan, for filming. But Saudi women are mobilizing in order to expose this type of discrimination (Arabia).

The obstacle in “Ain’t I a Woman” was similar when it came to gender apartheid because it explored that black women and white women were without a doubt being treated differently by white men, and to make matters worse, black men even discriminated against black women. Also, the author talks about a black man mentioning; “Women can’t have as much rights as men because Christ wasn’t a woman!” (Cooley). Also, black men during the time of slavery, supposed that they were the gender that was dominant. It was evident, that men were measured kings ever since the medieval times. As soon as the author heard that account she rapidly states,” Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him” (Cooley).

In Watching Oprah From behind the Veil, Oprah was looked at as being an idol for the reason that she symbolized someone that was an over comer of obstacles for women. She reminded them of a life they wanted apart from the gender stricken environment they came from. However, being strict was an understatement because it was more like oppression. This obstacle of oppression was shown clearly in Watching Oprah From behind the Veil because it explored the strict sex segregation. Strict sex segregation is the law of the land. Women are prohibited to drive, to freely marry to vote, or divorce, to appear in public deprived of a husband or other male guardian, or to even take classes at a university without their father’s authorization. They could be placed in jail – or worse – for being caught in a car with a man to whom they are not even related. In court, their testimony carries less weight than a man. These women were not able to file a criminal complaint without unless without having a male guardian’s authorization – not even in circumstances of domestic abuse, when it is their “protector” who has attacked them (Frings-Hessami).

Unquestionably, when it came to oppression the women in Watching Oprah From behind the Veil were not the only ones that felt that pressure. Sojourner Truth in “Ain’t I a Woman” also could emphasize with domination and was not shy about voicing this hypocrisy. This hypocrisy of the inequality among men, women, blacks, and whites provokes a feeling of resentment in the audience. Not only does the existence of hypocrisy in any matter, subject, or person hold an adverse implication, nevertheless it furthermore generates an emotion of fear that inspires people to take some kind of action. By showing the existence of this hypocrisy that is current in her own life, Sojourner invites her audience to understand possible inequalities in their own lives, which they should want to adjust. Sojourner plays on the emotions of her audience so as to grab their attention and their readiness for change by clarifying her own susceptible state to which they can communicate much like Oprah in Watching Oprah From Behind the Veil. Once Sojourner has incited an emotional response in her audience, she enables them through the recurrence of the deep rhetorical question “and ain’t I a woman?” Sojourner proud cry of this detail states her belief in her own deserving right to equal opportunity. With each repetition of this powerful question, Sojourner dimensions progressively more on the sensations of her audience as they too should feel worthy of freedom from judgment which is much like what Oprah does for the Saudi women.

Sojourner continues with this poetic and rhythmic repetition, constructing up energy in her voice and audience with a short-lived personal experience followed by the rhetorical question. Also, she was able to draw a picture of her equality to men by talking about her hard-working efforts and strength as she “planted and ploughed, and congregated into barns, and no man could head me.” Once more, she follows this statement with, “and ain’t I a woman?” Sojourner regularly endures on in this pattern, making a claim to her deserved equal opportunity she feels with men and then following behind it with the ever progressively strong question “and ain’t I a woman?

Nevertheless, when it comes to Watching Oprah From Behind The Veil, they looked at Oprah as being the voice against the obstacle, much like that of Sojourner Truth in “Ain’t I a Woman” for instance, Oprah’s the most powerful woman of this time while Saudi women are among the most powerless women on earth. Oprah is a self-made billionaire, with universal interests that range from publication to television to education. This would have been hard for Saudi women because they are prohibited to get a job without the say-so of a male “guardian,” and the vast majority of Saudi women are unemployed (Arabia). Oprah has a face that is recognized all over the world. Saudi women cannot even leave the home without concealing their face and disguising their figure in a wrap. Oprah much like Sojourner is famous for her message of self-improvement, spiritual uplift and confidence. They are deprived of the right to make the humblest decisions, treated by law like children who cannot be trustworthy with authority over their own comfort (Frings-Hessami).

They are many Saudi Arabian women whose devotion to Oprah have made “The Oprah Winfrey Show” — in Dubai and are the in the kingdom. Oprah is the voice for these women that symbolize freedom in the way she speaks and dresses. “In a nation where the sexes are thoroughly kept apart, where topics like race and sex are not talked about in the open and where a strict code of public principles is imposed by devout police,” the article made this point, “Winfrey gives many young Saudi women with new methods of thinking about the way local taboos are having an effect on their lives . Some of these women here are saying Winfrey’s assurances to her viewers – that no matter how restricted or even abusive their circumstances may be, they can take control in small ways and create lives of value – helps them find meaning in their cramped, veiled existence.” (Jacoby)

And so many young Saudi women avidly analyze Oprah’s clothes and hairstyles, and distribute copies of her periodical, O, and write letters telling her of their dreams and dissatisfactions. A lot of certainly dream of doing the same thing she did — getting away from the shackles of the society into which they were born and rising as high as their talents are able to take them.

Sojourner Truth on the other hand may not have been able to have the fancy clothes as Oprah or a vibrant magazine but she did have the same appeal to women that were oppressed. For example, although we cannot actually hear Sojourner speak these words, reading the documentation of this speech, I am able feel her energy, anger, and bitterness building up as she repeats this commanding phrase over and over. I think that she does her best with finding a way to brings this certain kind of rhythm to her speech while at the same pointing a picture of the grief and hardships she has went through as a slave and also as a woman.

She announces that she has “borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery” as she “wept with [her] mother’s heartache,” following this memory with one last recurrence of “and ain’t I a woman?” She with resolve ended this part of her speech with such a dazzlingly clear image of violence and the traumatic effects of dissimilarity, forcing her audience, most of which were most likely mothers, to communicate to her travail on an even greater emotional level. Through this replication, Sojourner switches the attention of her audience from prejudices that women encounter to the prejudices that blacks face in addition. Naturally tying these two concerns of inequality together, Sojourner permits her audience, who as women feel discriminated against, to attach with and comprehend the discrimination that blacks face also much like the Saudi women.

On the other hand, Oprah never encountered the obstacles that confront her Saudi fans or put in slavery like Sojourner. However, that is not to diminish the overwhelming odds Oprah overcame. Oprah was born to an unwed adolescent housemaid in Mississippi during the pre-civil rights era and spent her first years in such poverty that at times she wore potato sacks for dresses. As a child, she was sexually molested, and ran away from home as an adolescent. It was a neglected start, one that would have defeated many people not blessed with Oprah’s drive and intelligence.

However, Sojourner Truth had a lot of drive and intelligence as well, much like Oprah, in “Ain’t I a Woman” she used all of that to confront her fellow black women that were in slavery. At the start of the speech, Sojourner speaks to her audience as “children,” an engaging and welcoming word that defines a distinctive human link among her and all who are pay attention. I do not think that in Jacoby’s article that Oprah refers to her audience as “children” but at the same time, many young Saudi women are seen like children by the dominating men (Arabia) . In Jacoby’s essay he makes the clear point that Saudi women are denied the right to make the humblest choices, treated by law like children who cannot be trusted with authority over their own well-being.

By calling the audience “children,” Sojourner is describing the fact that they every one of them are equal in her eyes, despite all of their differences. This word is not just interpreted to refer to motherhood, but it can likewise refer to the biblical impression of all humans as “God’s children” who are created equal and in the “image and likeness of God.” B (Cooley)y starting off with this loaded term of “children,” Sojourner is forewarning her speech’s emphasis on equivalence. In this same first sentence she summaries, “where there is so much racket there must be something out of kilter” as she exclusively presents her purpose of seeking harmony among all as she refers to the “the women of the North and negroes of the South, all regarding to human rights.”

I think that this statement from Sojourner would apply to the disempowered women of Jacoby’s essay because it shed light on Saudi women wanting change and tired of the old order. These women are making noise which means something needs to be fixed. It is evident women around the world are treated as citizen that are from a lower class. I think Jacoby’s essay is merely one of numerous examples that demonstrates that in all places women are basically looked down upon and although we have a lot of privileges and freedom many Saudi women do not have enough and they do not have as much equal opportunity as the men have all over the world.

Sojourner shuts down or ends her speech by trying to get the women to get them inspired by making some noise against the injustice toward women. In Jacoby’s essay, he explains how Oprah does the same thing by providing Saudi women with new ways of thinking about an equal society and what they can do to make this happen. Oprah much like Sojourner tries to get the women to take back control by showing them that they are just as good as the men if not better.”

I think in “Ain’t I a Woman Sojourner is cunningly drawing in each member of her audience so that they can passionately and individually relate to her proposition to fight unfairness. She suggests the idea that if these women all work in unison, there is no reason that they should not accomplish the goal of being equal. This is the exact same thing that Jacoby explains in his essay when he talks about how Oprah uses the media and magazines to promote equal justice for women.

In conclusion, it is clear that “Ain’t I a Woman” and Jacoby’s essay Watching Oprah From behind the Veil” both show great similarities when it comes to using multiple rhetorical strategies in order to involve their audience. Sojourner effectively knows how to delivers the commanding message on the unjust nature, hypocrisy, and moral wrongness of race and gender discrimination. In Jacoby’s essay, he used Oprah to bring to the injustice of a male dominated society that looks at women as children and also low class citizen. In “Ain’t I a Woman” Sojourner emotionally appeals to her audience by utilizing personal anecdotes, recurrence, and biblical references so as to positively portray the injustices taking place at that time and to positively incite a desire for change where as in Jacoby’s essay, Oprah Winfrey by motivating women that they can produce lives of value and find some kind of meaning in their cramped, veiled way of life.

Works Cited

Cooley, Thomas. The Norton Sampler. New York: Eighth Edition, 2013.

Jacoby, Jeff. Jeff Jacoby: Watching Oprah from behind the veil. 2 March 2013. http://www.nytimes..1.16446161.html?_r=0. 3 May 2014.