“Because a woman’s beauty does not belong to her alone. It is part of the bounty she brings into the world. She has a duty to share it” (Disgrace, 16).
The above stanza strongly refers to patriarchal hegemony that considers women to be a subservient category of social existence, which does not have right over her personal body and beauty (Ford, 1998). This stanza refers to the objectification of women, which deems a woman primarily to be an object that solely exists to satiate the male sexual hunger. Rather than endowing a woman with a complete and wholesome personality, such a patriarchal mindset reduces women to the mere status of being a vessel of male lust and sexual satisfaction (O’Connor & Drury, 1999). This stanza thereby describes women solely in the context of one’s sexuality, without caring to associate one with human sentiments and aspirations. The irony is that the women are mostly objectified in a sexual context as is shown in the above stanza, thereby imbuing the female gender with an innate sense of inferiority and subservience. The sad thing is that it is much easier to sexually plunder rape or abuse a person if one is considered to be an object rather than being an alive and thinking person. Hence, the objectification of women is the very basis of all the sexual violence and sexual abuse that the feminine gender is subjected to (Hogan, 2001). The more a woman is dehumanized and considered to be an object of sexual satisfaction and lust, the easier it gets to treat one as an object, a lifeless thing, an entity that is incapable of thinking for herself or making free choices regarding her sexuality. The approach towards women enshrined in the above stanza from Disgrace is indeed deplorable, shocking and hurting.
Hogan, K. (2001). Women Take Care. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
Ford, J.M. (1998). Patriarchy and Incest from Shakespeare to Joyce. Gainesville, FL:
University Press of Florida.
O’Connor, F.B., & Drury, B.S. (1999). The Female Face in Patriarchy. East Lansing, MI:
Michigan State University Press.