During my post-workout stretches, I like to reflect and on this day, I remembered a novel I had read as a teen in high school. The novel is the 1891 published ‘Tess of the d’Urbervilles’. Years after high school, I re-read that novel to the point it ripped in so many places from wear. The themes of the novel impressed upon my teen mind and has remained with me to date. Aside the unfortunate rape of Tess by Alec, what struck me most is the double standard between the genders.
On her wedding night, Tess’ husband, Angel, confesses to a willful, albeit short affair with an older woman in London. Tess forgives Angel without hesitation and in turn, she opens up about her rape. Sadly, she doesn’t receive the same measure of ‘forgiveness’ from her husband and he leaves her. Before his return to her, a heartbroken Tess murders her rapist and is subsequently executed.
In 2021, the same theme runs supreme as evidenced by the gross discourse we have heard our whole lives, our experiences and those of people around us and the unending videos on social media of gaslighting, manipulation and narcissism. Interesting, ain’t it? Curious, isn’t it? – this burden on womanhood.