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Women In Comparison Essay

1696 words - 7 pages

Sexual identity in American women has always been difficult to ascertain. Being an American woman myself, I know this to be true. It has long been up to our mothers and fathers to shape and mold us, praying all the while that we wouldn’t end up as “that girl”. The girl who is forced into an early marriage, or ends up an unwed mother barely out of childhood herself. Through the course of my reading, I came across two stories that spoke to me. Dorothy Allison’s “from Two or Three Things I Know For Sure”, and “One Thousand Dollars”, by I.Z. reveal just how difficult it is to raise a daughter. Raising daughters in contemporary America to have good morals is next to impossible.

Raising a ...view middle of the document...

Anne’s mother telling her all the time how pretty she was, and how the sun shone brighter as she walked in the room only reinforced this negative portrayal of childhood beauty. By the time this girl was eighteen, she was forced to drop out of high school to raise a child born out of wedlock, a child whose father refused to claim him, and live with her own stepfather so she could raise him. Being ashamed of herself quite possibly drove her to other men’s arms, searching for that feeling of beauty her parents bestowed on her. Unfortunately, she had other children by other men, and ends up raising her daughter the same way she was raised. By telling her daughter the very same things she was told as a child, she perpetuates the cycle of little girls growing up too fast. We give our daughters play makeup at age 7, and allow them to watch cartoons in which the girls all wear make up and dress provocatively in order for them to fit in with society’s new standards for beauty. Never receiving the guidance she desperately needed almost assuredly drove I.Z. to take on too much in her life, forcing her to struggle to make ends meet.

Protecting our daughters from physical and sexual abuse is every mothers duty. Not only did I.Z.’s mother not put a stop to the physical abuse by her husband, she seemed at times to encourage it with her words, if not her actions. By driving a constant wedge between her husband and I.Z., she effectively told her daughter she didn’t love or value her as much as the loss of her husbands affections meant to her. It’s our job as mothers to put our children first, to ensure their safety at all costs. A child from an abusive home is more than two thirds more likely to abuse their own children later in life. Anne and her sister talk about the sexual abuse they both endured at the hands of their stepfather. Anne tells her sister that she tried to always make sure that it was her job to bring him his drinks, forcing her to be the one to take the most abuse. The sister relates recurring nightmares of unknown subjects, leaving her feeling like a crying hurt child once again. Anne goes on to tell her that she did this in the hopes that she was a strong person, like their mother. She hoped that she would be able to withstand their stepfathers advances, thereby saving each other in the process. A child’s wish to be sure. The abuse cycle perpetuating itself is never more apparent then when the sister is comforting her niece and realizes her niece has men trying to do to her what her stepfather had done to them all those years ago. Does Anne realize this as well? The story is unclear on this important fact. However, in the beginning of the tale, it was stated that Anne moved in with her stepfather to care for her first son when she dropped out of school. As a mother, she should never have placed her children within the grasp of a pedophile such as he.

Preventing our daughters from harm is the key to a healthy moral code as adults....

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