Although in the 1800's and earlier, it was typical for women to be obedient, docile, and compliant with their husbands or other men, there were those that did not conform. Women's equality is a very modern concept; women were only granted the right to vote in the 1920's. Before this, it was expected that a woman would tend to the house and raise the children, nothing more, nothing less. Some women, however, possessed the strength to throw off the shackles that bound them to their houses, their husbands, and their obligations. My artwork represents the anomalies: the women who were ahead of their time.
One such woman was Queen Elizabeth. Queen Elizabeth was an extremely popular monarch of England. Her reign is known as the Golden Age of English history. She left her mark on the world without a father or a husband. Queen Elizabeth's father was King Henry VIII; after being disappointed when Elizabeth was born a girl, Henry had very little to do with his daughter's life. She never had a strong paternal figure to guide her, or teach her, but Elizabeth was able to thrive. Not only did she not need her father, but she didn't need a husband to rule in her stead; Queen Elizabeth ruled England singlehandedly. In my artwork, I represented Elizabeth with a golden crown shedding light on the rest of the poster since she led the Golden Age of English history. Below it is a cracked silver crown, which represents the crown a king would wear, showing that Elizabeth was able to break free of the confines of her time period, and rule as a woman.
Another woman who was ahead of her time was the Wife of Bath, from Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales. The Wife of Bath was an independent woman; she was not reliant on any one man. She did not take marriage so seriously, referring to love as a game. Additionally, the Wife of Bath was very smart and able to make a living off of her prodigious skill in weaving. She was not silent and obedient, as was expected of women; she was known to laugh and joke at parties. The Wife of Bath is represented on my poster with spools of yarn, showing that she did not need a man to support her; she was able to make her own living. Beside the yarn are a bunch of engagement rings, signifying the Wife of Bath's many marriages.
A third woman who went against the norm of her time period was Nora, from Ibsen's A Doll's House. A typical wife in this age was always compliant with her husband, but Nora was not afraid to defy her husband. One example is when she lies to him about eating the macaroons. Additionally, she sneaked behind her husband's back to get the loan; she is not just a helpless woman. Perhaps the most extreme example is when Nora leaves her home and her family. She leaves her security behind and ventures out into the real world, displaying her courage and independence. In my artwork, Nora is represented by a men's briefcase with her name on it in pink writing. This shows Nora going off into a man's world all alone.
The last woman who I chose as one who defied the norm of her time period is Lady Bracknell, from Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest. Lady Bracknell was the only person in the play who was not strongly tied to a person of the opposite gender. Her husband was not typically present, so Lady Bracknell was, in essence, the head of the house. An example of her power is when she interviews Jack to see if he is a suitable match for her daughter, Gwendolen. Typically, it is the father who gives his daughter away, but here, the roles are reversed. Lady Bracknell is in charge of the whole affair. On my poster, Lady Bracknell is represented by a large dining - room chair. This is meant to convey that she "sits at the head of the table". Essentially, she is in charge of the entire household.
These four women are examples of "women in power." They did not conform to their time periods. Instead, they rose above what was expected of them and held their own in a man's world.