I Am Not Like Those "Other" Girls: Deconstruction of Superficial Feminism in Chaucer's Wife of Bath and Ya Female Protagonists
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This essay takes a comprehensive look at critical responses to Chaucer’s Wife of Bath and deconstructs the arguments supporting Alisoun of Bath as a pro-feminist character. My thesis is comprised of two major parts. The first part attempts to review arguments made by scholars who read the Wife of Bath as a pro-feminist character and explain how they are misinterpreting her. The second part will extend that conversation into the Young Adult Literature genre as a way to show how anti-feminist rhetoric is similarly misunderstood in modern female characters. The important distinction I am making in my thesis revolves around trying to explain how narratives of false feminism are upheld by people who constantly engage with these texts (i.e. Medieval Literature, or YA Literature respectively). I will address my point by demonstrating how YA female protagonists echo the superficial feminism found in Wife of Bath to help the readers catch potential misogynistic themes and tropes present in these popular books. By extending this conversation from Wife of Bath, a prominent character in Medieval Literature, into a genre dominated by young female protagonists, I anticipate that more readers will properly identify the subtle ways in which the female protagonist maintains the patriarchal status quo. It is easier, in my opinion, to accept that female representation in Medieval Literature was gendered. So, by showing the similarities of the characters and how critics responded to those texts I would like to highlight that modern readers have not yet conquered removing false feminists from books.