Today, feminist research on the role and value of women in the global culture, both in the past and present, plays a significant role in the scientific literature in Europe and the United States. Under this point of view, the most different periods of cultural history, including the Renaissance, are considered. The Renaissance in Italy became the time to build a whole new culture and ideology, which was united by the concept of humanism. Significant changes were made in all spheres of life, both material and spiritual. The image of women has been changed a lot too. Most of the authors of the XVI century did not dare to speak of the superiority of men over women's nature.
Baldassare Castiglione (1929) presented a new image of women in society along with their image in love. Castiglione’s work is a structured dialogue, in which participants represent different points of view on the female gender, including the very conservative one. However, the position of a defender seems to be the strongest. Castiglione presents his demands to the woman in the form of the ideal without mentioning what a woman cannot or should not do. Instead, he points out what she should not do in terms of commitment to an ideal. However, female concept of Castiglione goes no further than serving the needs and interests of the society. This is not a humanistic scholarship and education, which is so highly valued in the Renaissance. It is limited to the narrow areas of its applicability. Many women disproved the statements of Castiglione about the females’ position. Thus, Christine de Pizan benefited society by her humanistic education. Her The Book of the City of the Ladies is considered to be an antithesis to the Castiglione’s sexist position. The author was one of the first feminists, who struggled for women’s rights. Her follower Lucrezia Marinella also defended the merits of women in the book The Nobility and Excellence of Women and the Defects and Vices of Men. Marinella provided strong arguments for women’s superiority in respect of moral and intellectual capacities.
In any country and society, a woman has a right to happiness. Talking about the role of women in society, it should be noted that it is dependent on the physical and moral health of the younger generations and thus the future of a nation. In the modern world, there develops the system of equality since women are not willing to tolerate the role of a housewife. The 20th century has a number of famous feminists.
Many consider Gloria Steinem to be a symbol of American feminism of the second wave. Steinem is a creative genius because of her contribution to social reform within the women's movement. She played a pivotal role in changing the world and facilitating the solution to the problem of sexual equality. In a sense, she was a woman of the Renaissance.
Alice Walker is another representative of feminism. However, she determines her ideological platform as womanism. First of all, she defends the rights of black women. Walker considers womanist as a black or color feminist, who has the strength and perseverance for she values the relationship between women, their culture, emotional flexibility, and personal development. Walker strives for the survival and integrity of all people – both men and women. Maya Angelou, who was called universal Renaissance woman, also contributed to strengthening women’s rights, especially the position of black women.
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Feminist Oprah Winfrey is a symbol of the American dream, which she was able to bring to life after the years of hard work. She strengthened a woman’s positive role in the society. A tennis player Billie Jean King has become an icon of feminists after she defeated Bobby Riggs. Riggs wanted to prove the superiority of men in tennis and everything else. Their tennis match was called a struggle of genders. As a result, Riggs lost, and his defeat became a legendary victory against the stereotypes that were related to women.
The abovementioned women are bright examples of female success and prosperity. Their lives and achievements have a significant impact on the perception of women and their position in society. Gender-based discrimination is gradually smoothed out. However, the equality will never be achieved if people do not change their mind. Men must learn to see in a woman an equal human capable of doing many things. Women, in their turn, should be more active in the fight for their rights and not endure the humiliation that is associated with their sex.
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