Essay on Jane Gilman 's Criticism Of Herland, The Rape Of The Text

1344 Words Apr 18th, 2016 6 Pages
Charlotte Gilman’s Herland describes a feminist utopia where there are only women. No man has stepped foot in Herland for thousands of years; the women have no need for the men, since they reproduce asexually. The women in Herland value motherhood and sisterhood over anything else. When the men arrive in Herland, the women are skeptical but open to reevaluating the ways of their society, possibly willing to try reproducing sexually and creating a male-female society. In Kathleen Lant’s criticism of Herland, The Rape of the Text: Charlotte Gilman 's Violation of Herland, she states, “While Gilman espouses an ideology of expansive, supportive, strong femininity, she violates that vision by the very shape of her novel.” (Lant, 292). Gilman allows the patriarchal values to “cloud” the feminist body of her text. “Gilman allows patriarchal values ‘forcible entry’ into the feminist body of her text. By means of this forcible entry or rape the masculinist values that Gilman abhors enjoy ‘victorious conquest’ over the feminist ‘body’ or ideology of her novel.” (Lant, 292)
On arrival, the men do not believe that there are no men in Herland, stating "why, this is a civilized country!... There must be men" (p. 11). It is understandable how the men could be skeptical, since I, too, was skeptical due to the question of how the women reproduce. Although, the men are not as concerned with the reproduction, but more with the fact that the civilization is so well maintained that they…

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