Taking Women Students Seriously Adrienne Rich Summary

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In her essay, “Taking Women Students Seriously,” Adrienne Rich addresses an issue that many people acknowledge but do nothing to change. Rich sheds light upon rape of the mind (215) and manipulation that ruin the lives of women who struggle to get an education. The possibility of rape or harm in general dictates how women go about their lives, which in itself is a social limitation that reshapes their lives and missions. This fear of possible harm, even if it’s completely hypothetical, prevents many women from enhancing their lives through education; it prevents them from discovering so much about the world around them. Rich shows that Susan Griffin points out how the fear of rape dictates a woman’s life, asking the world, “And what does one…show more content…
She explains that by being consumed by fear of harm, women will not be sufficiently immersed in their studies and fail to reach active selfhood, since, “If it is dangerous for me to walk home late of an evening from the library, because I am a woman and can be raped, how self-possessed, how exuberant can I feel as I sit working in that library” (214)? If a woman does not leave a confined space, whether that may be an apartment or a home, she will never experience the world firsthand and go to her classes to be educated and enlightened by worldly issues. Distinguished women become successful because they ignore this internal fear of harm, as they are well-educated and aware of the world around them. Other women struggle to get an education, because they sense this seemingly natural feeling of insignificance and fragility from birth, forcing them to stay within their comfort zones. So how do certain women find their way to be themselves and rise above these social limits? They know that education leads them to success, and they ignore the limitations and standards created by

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