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Each year in the United States there are over 3 million incidents of abuse or domestic violence. Which means that every nine seconds a woman is beaten by her domestic partner. Many women that remain silent when being abused by their partners. The consequences of being quiet when getting abuse can be dangerous and can lead to death. Many women don’t recognize the fact that there is in speaking out if they’re being abused by their partner. No women should never take domestic abuse by their partner. Domestic violence and abuse can occur anywhere at any time. In TEWWG, Hurston uses abuse and male dominance to show how men have power over women; they abuse women, limit women’s speech, and control women’s appearance.
First of all, Joe Starks and Tea Cake use male dominance to abuse Janie. For instance, Jody, Joe Starks, starts hitting Janie every time she does something wrong. Jody wanted Janie to do everything as he liked. Janie wasn’t allowed to do anything wrong or even talk back. “So when the bread didn’t rise, and the fish wasn’t quite done at the bone, and the rice was scorched, he slapped Janie till she had a ringing sound in her ears…” (Hurston 72). Next, Janie’s last husband, Tea Cake, would slap her for his own pleasure. Janie was already used to getting hit, that’s why she would allow Tea Cake to slap her. “He just slapped her around a bit to show he was boss.” (Hurston 147). Janie is controlled by male dominance and abuse because she allows herself to get hit.
In the same way, abuse and male dominance are very common in abusive relationships. For example, in many relationships men abuse and dominate women to have control over them. Men think they’re superior to women, so they abuse them to feel more powerful. Many time, men treat their wife or girlfriend bad because they lack self-esteem. “Domestic abuse includes any attempt by one person in an intimate relationship or marriage to dominate and control the other.” (“Domestic Violence and Abuse”). Furthermore, in many abusive relationships not only physical abuse is being done but also emotional abuse. Men often bring women’s feelings down of self-worth and independence, to make them feel like they depend on men. “Just because you’re not battered and bruised doesn’t mean you’re not being abused. Many women suffer from emotional abuse, which is no less destructive.” (“Domestic Violence and Abuse”). Abuse and male dominance are mainly factors that contribute to an abusive relationship.
Secondly, Joe Starks uses abuse and male dominance to limit Janie from speaking. In fact, Jody or Joe Starks didn’t let Janie have a conversation with anyone in Eatonville. Jody would always use the excuse that Janie as Mrs. Mayor couldn’t interact with the other citizens. Jody wouldn’t let Janie talk to or socialize with any of them because he would become jealous. “Janie loved the conversation and sometimes she thought up goof stories on the mule, but Joe had forbidden her to indulge. He didn’t want her talking after such trashy people.” (Hurston 53). Also, Jody didn’t let Janie give speeches because he would say that she wasn’t made for that. Janie as a woman was meant to only be a housewife. “Thank yuh fuh yo’ compliments, but mah wife don’t know nothin’ about no speech makin’. Ah never married her for nothin’ lak dat. She’s uh woman and her place is in de home.” (Hurston 43). Janie allows herself to be limited form talking or interacting with others.
The same as, isolation and men limiting women’s speech is a common thing in abusive relationships. For example, many men feel that if a woman talks to anyone else other than them, she’s going to cheat. A woman isn’t allowed to talk to friends or relatives, so they don’t make their partner mad. “Men have the need to isolate women because they become jealous.” (“Emotion and Verbal Abuse”). Also, men try to control women by telling them not to speak unless they’re told to do so. Men need that control on women because it’s part of the male chauvinism. They like feeling that superiority and that they deserve more freedom and privileged than women. “Men tell women when to speak because they feel the need to do it or else the woman is going to talk back.” (“Emotion and Verbal Abuse”). Men isolate women and limit their speech so they don’t increase their dependence on them.
Lastly, Joe and Tea Cake use male dominance to control Janie’s appearance. One example is, Jody makes Janie wear a head-rag to cover her hair. Jody becomes jealous when Walter touches Janie’s hair. Jody treats Janie as his object because he fears that she could go with someone else. “That night he ordered Janie to tie up her hair around the store. She was there in the store for him to look at, not those others.” (Hurston 55). Another example, Janie dresses up and wears what Tea Cake wants her to wear. Tea Cake would always what to her and Janie never refused to it. “Looking like some young girl, always in blue because Tea Cake told her to wear it.” (Hurston 110). Janie lets male dominance performed by Joe and Tea Cake control what she wears.
As well as, men tell women what to wear so they can have a certain power over them. For instance, in some marriages, women have to wear their hair up and cover it too. Men need that certain power over women mostly by controlling their clothing. “Unmarried women could wear their hair down while married women had to wear their hair up and cover it with a cloth.” (“100 Years of Feminist History”). Next, in a relationship, men tell women how to dress because they don’t want them “showing too much” to others. In the male chauvinism, a woman can’t show to much or she’s going to be called a promiscuous woman. “Men are unable to stop themselves from sexually harassing women, because of the clothes that women wear.” (100 Years of Feminist History”).
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