عنوان مقاله [English]
Misogyny is a universal phenomenon defined as the hatred of women manifest in the social and cultural practices and in the rites, rituals and literature of different societies. It is seen in the literary works of men who portray unrealistic images of women. In these works, women are either angels or devils. Women who live as sacrificial and obedient daughters, wives and mothers, are angels. Women who look for their identity outside the family are portrayed as devilish. These images have been repeated throughout history because writers are usually men and women have been excluded from the canon of literature. It is not easy for a female writer to be accepted in a society governed by male values and norms. This could explain why in these societies, some female writers, affected by dominant male discourses, write against women. The present study aims to show that female writers can unconsciously make traditional roles look attractive to women. In literature of this kind, women’s role is restricted to finding a husband, doing chores around the house and raising children. This places women who are the main characters, in a position inferior to men.
The present study is descriptive and quantitative, using library sources and content analysis to
perform a case study of two novels: I’ll Turn off the Lights and Pride and Prejudice. The study critiques the novels as examples of misogynist literature. It is based on Clausio Guillen’s theory of the French school of comparative study and interdisciplinary studies. According to Guillen, when reading literature, one has to free oneself from the dominance of one’s ethnicity and to be able to relate the local to the universal.
Misogyny is not an individual phenomenon but a social construction deeply rooted in patriarchy. In this social structure, women accept the misogynist discourse and learn to hate themselves. Misogyny internalizes in women the feeling of hatred towards their own sex. As Johnson observes, misogyny “plays a complex role in patriarchy. It fuels men’s sense of superiority, justifies male aggression against women... In fact, women won’t tend to see patriarchy as even problematic since the essence of self-hatred is to focus on the self as the sole cause of misery” (Johnson, 2005:64). Misogyny is rooted in patriarchy. This word refers to power relations in a system where women are subordinated to men. As Juliet Mitchell observes, patriarchy is a kinship relation between men in which women are exchanged as commodities (Mitchell, 1971:24). Sylvia Walby believes that patriarchy shows biological differences between men and women as gender differences and thus gives different social roles to men and women (Walby, 1990:20). In patriarchy women cherish negative feelings towards each other. Horizontal hostility is the phrase used to describe this feeling. Moane states that horizontal feeling is the expression of anger and negative feelings which target the oppressed instead of the oppressor. (Moane, 2000, 401). Julia Penelope also observes that in patriarchal societies women do men’s job for them by exercising horizontal hostility and thus guarantee their victimization” (Penelope, 1992:60). According to Adrienne Rich, patriarchy has always stressed the relation between mothers and sons and has ignored the mother/daughter relationship because this relation is a threat to the patriarch system (Rich, 1968: 226). Both mother and daughter are sacrificed in this system. Rich adds that when a mother is victimized, she is not the only one who is humiliated: the daughter also receives severe damages because her mother is a role model to her. The mother’s hatred of herself and her low expectations of life prevent the girl from becoming a mature person (Rich, 1986: 243).
One similarity between Pride and Prejudice and I’ll Turn off the Lights written by two female writes in two different historical periods and geographical places is jealousy and hostility between female characters. In Pride and Prejudice, all women have negative feelings for each other except for Elizabeth and Jane. This is also true about I’ll Turn off the Lights where there is no friendship between women but only hostility. The other similarity is that both novels cherish romantic notions about marriage. As Nicole Gast observes, marriage could improve the social status of women. This is why the aim of education for women was attracting the attention of a man who could become a husband (Gast, 2005:4). Edward J. Ahrean also points out that Pride and Prejudice marks the beginning of the bourgeois system. This throws new light on marriage in the novel. Marriage is seen as way to survive in its crudest sense (Ahearn,1989: 33). The other common point between the novels is the superiority of male characters to female characters. In I’ll Turn off the Lights, the difference between men and women which has social and cultural reasons is related to their biology and essence. It looks quite natural that Claris is always cooking and cleaning. That Artoosh is either discussing politics or reading the newspapers or playing chess is made to look natural and a man’s job. The novel approves of and emphasizes gender roles and thus separates the world of men from the world of women. Artoosh is an intellectual man who knows politics but Claris has to only cook and clean. The novel is written by a female writer about women but this female world is replete with jealousy and competition between women and is compared with the world of men which is superior to this world. In Pride and Prejudice, women are also involved in horizontal hostility. There is negative feeling between mother and daughters and sisters. Two Bennett daughtres bring shame and disgrace upon the family while no male characters does anything disgraceful.
The similarities between Pride and Prejudice and I’ll Turn off the Lights which are written in two different countries divided by a time span of 200 years is the negative feeling of female characters for each other and their positive feeling for the male characters. In both novels the central character is a women but this woman is incomplete without a man. This is why she has a romantic attitude towards marriage. The women in these novels do not have a friendly relation with their mother and have competitive relations with their sisters. Both novels deal with female issues and have been praised as literary masterpieces and radical novels. A close study of these novels, however, shows that the attitude of the texts towards women is disapproving. These novels reflect patriarchal mindset which makes misogynists out of men and women alike. In these novels, women target each other instead of actual target. They cannot form real bonds of friendship with their own sex, see men as their superior and compete for male attention. Although Jane Austen and Zoya Pirzad have chosen female characters as their heroines, they have only repeated the dominant patriarch discourse. They have written about the superiority of men, lack of understanding in women, and women’s need for economical and emotional support. In these novels, women are entrapped in network of jealousies and prejudices but men occupy higher positions in spite of their minor roles. Female characters are acknowledged only as daughters, wives or mothers and have no identity outside the family. They develop negative feelings for themselves and in order to attract the attention of male characters compete and fight against each other. Elizabeth and Claris have both negative feelings for their mother and sisters, have very high evaluations of their fathers, and consider marriage to or love for a man as a way to salvation. None of these characters are strong or independent. In the 21st century, Zoya Pirzad repeats the passive and conservative attitude Jane Austen had 200 years ago, writing more in appreciation of the opposite sex. It could be then concluded that although the writers and main characters of these novels are women and the subjects are the lives and experiences of women, in reality they propound reactionary, conservative and misogynist attitudes. In spite of the 200 years timespan between the novels, the contemporary Persian writer has not moved one step forward.
Key Words: Horizontal Hostility, I'll Turn off the Lights, Indirect Violence, Pride and Prejudice, Patriarchy, Misogyny.