“A woman cannot be herself in the society of the present day, which is exclusively masculine society, with laws framed by men and a judicial system that judges feminine conduct from a masculine point of view.” Henrik Ibsen, 1878
To what extent are Ibsen’s words still true today?
Before finding concrete facts about the laws that were made exclusively for the female body, I can already begin to describe how much this resonates with the issues of today. There are double standards that exist throughout the genders that, when thought about, are completely absurd. Women are portrayed as objects that are to meet the satisfaction of men in the media which heavily reflects on the conduct, or rather misconduct, of people in society. One example is that many men who disagree with makeup, on a woman, claim that it is a mask and that the beauty of a woman with said makeup on is selling a lie. The first mistake here is the assumption that makeup is a means for one to impress another, the second is that they assume that other person is men in general. Not only this, but it seems that a big number of men feel as if it is their duty to dictate a women’s body as seen in the debate over abortion, which essentially is the debate on whether a woman can have control over their own body.
The difference between the society Ibsen references and current day is that we now recognize that the double standard happens both ways. Toxic masculinity is an idea that is now more understood and rooted as the basis of the urge to dictate women. Though women do not hold more, or even equal, political power. Which is why it is not an issue that stands on its own. So yes, Ibsen’s words still ring true but the situation nowadays is different.