In reading the book Red Clocks by Leni Zumas, I was instantly brought back into thinking about what it is like to be a woman in today’s society. We are told what we can wear, who we need to impress, how we need to act and what we can and cannot do with our bodies. Though living in my own personal world, I have yet to experience this to a full extent, I am completely aware that this happens every day and has been happening since the beginning of time.
All of the women portrayed in this book are experiencing a struggle of what the world expects them to do as women, mothers, and individuals. Roberta is one of the characters that seems to have a stigma that really hits home. Her main goal being one that sets out to have a child on her own is something that has been frowned upon and still continues to be looked down on. Through generations, the expectation has been that for a woman to have a family, she has to be with a man. In all reality, there are countless women who are out in the world without a partner who have only dreamed of having children or a family but are unable to have a “true” family without a man from the eyes of society. Roberta is a shining example of those women and brings a voice to the table that speak for a number of people.
On the exact opposite side of the spectrum there is Mattie’s character who is pregnant yet does not want to keep the baby. Ultimately, this should not seem as a problem considering it is Mattie’s body and choice of whether she would like to birth a baby or not however, this character brings light to the situation that has been rising for years and will for years to come. Both characters are struggling through a reality that is extremely controversial yet are used to bring a voice to the hundreds of women who are or have been in the same shoes as them.
In Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi, we are drawn to a similar parallel between the characters. Much of this book is very clearly associated with skin color and identity however these two play a huge part in being a woman. Boy is fighting a battle with identity as her character develops into that of a “wicked” stepmother towards her stepdaughter, Snow. Though much of this identity crisis in this book have to do with skin color, this ties into the idea that both of these books are an example of the parts of being a woman that are rarely discussed. Being a woman comes with the assumption that society gets to indulge in having an opinion about how we live our lives.