Charlotte Gilman wrote the book titled “Herland” to express the plight of various women especially in South America. She delineates the way in which the entire society is isolated especially those whose reproductive health is parthenogenesis. An ideal society is created by Gilman who has exposed the social order in the book especially the conflicts and the war that people face on a daily basis. As a woman, she wanted to expose the ways in which women in the society have been confined in a sphere that have prevented them from expounding on their ability or expressing their full potential in the society. According to Gilman, such kinds of acts have robbed women access to extraordinary position in the society that matched their professional skills. Her main concern as an author is the ways in which the traditional family is structured especially the manner in which it has denied women true happiness.
The novel is about a student known as Vandyck Jennings of sociology together with his two other friends Jeff Margrave and Terry O. Nicholson. They had known each other for several years and regardless of the challenges that they had been experiencing, they had a good deal. Terry is an explorer, Margrave is a poet and a botanist and lastly Nicholson was a meteorologist and geography (Gilman 21). Based on their varied skills and potential, they decided to go together on a scientific expedition to explore more about the uncharted world which is inhabited by women. Through their journey, the author reveals several issues that are intriguing to the readers. Among the issues that they identified is the stereotype in the society about women. Jeff viewed women as items that deserved to be served and given protection.
Terry on the other hand viewed women to be items that needed to be conquered and won over. However, these are just ways in which the society has constructed women. It is because there is more to women than the society have constructed. For instance, Terry identified that the society is able to stand on its own minus men. It is possible for women to survive alone without men hence can do without men hence they do not need to be served by men like Jeff thought. The greatest proof is the three young women in the forest who are the greatest proof that women do not need protection from men for them to survive (Gilman 122). On the other hand, Terry’s idea regarding women being conquered is rubbed off when the author of the book exposes a group of women who were captured and could not escape. However, the thoughts of women exposes gender stereotype. The shift as a result of equal education opportunities has given women more power and strength in the society more than expected. Nonetheless, regardless of this, there are still different parts of the world where people still look down upon women regardless of their level of education. In such kinds of societies, stereotype is still a common problem that people experience.
One of the strength of the book is that the author has used simple language that is easy to understand. On the other hand, the weakness of the book is the fact that there are several themes covered in an attempt to address the main point that may be challenging for some readers to understand. In overall, I enjoyed reading the book because of the story behind it and I would recommend it to other students especially those who want to learn more about gender stereotype.
Gilman, Charlotte. Herland. Gutenberg Ebook, 2008. Retrieved from https://www.gutenberg.org/files/32/32-h/32-h.htm