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    Have You Come a Long Way Baby? Essay

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    Flatland vs.

    Modern CultureThe treatment of women and the handicapped in the modern world has changedlittle, as illustrated by Edwin A. Abbotts book Flatland, which was written as a socialsatire over one hundred years ago. Physically life in Flatland differs greatly from our own,but socially many similarities are evident between the two worlds. According to the politics of Edwin A. Abbotts Flatland women are regarded asinferior (12). In Despite of few distinguishing physical characteristics to discriminateagainst, from a Flatlanders point of view, women are considered the frailer sex.

    Inferiorityis determined by the intellect of the female in relation to male. Since educationalopportunities for women do not exist in Flatland, it is not difficult to refuse rights to thosewho are unaware that they have rights. The frailer sex must constantly make itsappearance known in public because of the lethal capabilities they possess. The capacityto inflict such harm has prompted the powerful male upper classes to limit theopportunities of the inferior gender. When opportunities arise that decrease the barriersuch as the passing of the Colour Bill, they are quickly stifled to maintain the balance ofpower that has been established. Indicated here by the Chief Circle .

    . . if the Colour Billpassed, . . . fraud, deception, and hypocrisy would pervade every household.

    . . . Sooner thanthis, He cried, Come death.

    (33). This Anti-suffrage speech indicates that the ChiefCircle would rather perish than share rights with a woman. It is incomprehensible to mostmen in this society to believe an educated woman may be just as capable as theythemselves are. The situation described in Flatland sounds very bleak, but until recently similarconditions existed in the United States, and though progress has been made still do exist. Very much like Flatland women were also kept from getting an education, and to someextent are still expected to take on traditionally female roles such as nursing and child carewhen entering into schools.

    It was very important to keep females out of the classroomfor the same reasons given in Flatland. Women were dangerous to mens jobs and egos,and also would harm the domestic bliss that women had to work so hard to maintain. Today women are striving for equal rights but many have realized that they are still notmaking the progress they should be, women are finding a glass ceiling in many corporatework environments. The glass ceiling refers to the inability of women to find top positionsin corporations many are found in the upper level of a business but are very rarely incontrol. American women were also not given the right to vote until the late twentys thisis relatively recent and were only given the right on the assumption that their husbands hadcontrol over who they cast their vote for. Similarities also occur in the treatment of the handicapped.

    In Flatland irregularsides and angles are considered handicaps. The children born with these defects will beunable to live a normal life, they will be less intelligent and looked down upon by society. Children born with defects are immediately destroyed so that the community will not haveto deal with the problems of a handicapped child and to keep the risk of having morehandicapped children low. To some families in Flatland a child with an insufficient numberof sides may be considered handicapped, many of these children were sent to have theirsides broken in order to double the number of sides they have, although this process wasrisky many Flatlanders felt it was the only acceptable option . .

    . a glad procession bearsback the little one to his exultant parents, no longer a polygon . . . at least by courtesy.

    . . (36). This statement shows that appearances are everything in this society though thechild may not have the development of a circle he will be perceived as one. In modern society the handicapped are often thought of as a burden rather than aneedy human being.

    Tests now show if a child will be handicapped even before birth sothe decision to carry out the pregnancy may be made then, still handicapped children areoften abandoned or sent to institutions to be cared for. The termination of a pregnancy onaccount of a handicapped child may be compared to the destruction of any irregularchildren born to Flatland parents. Appearances of .

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