Phenomenal Women: Embracing Authenticity and Defying Societal Norms

Categories: Virginia Woolf

A phenomenal woman, according to both Maya Angelou and Virginia Woolf, is a female who knows herself well. The phenomenal woman is honest and could even be proud enough to show the world who she really is. Both authors have given very beautiful ways to describe the phenomenal woman. Angelou describes her as self-confident, honest, sincere, mysterious, and silent although her own curves can be alluring. Knowing her capabilities as a woman makes her very attractive to men despite most people’s conventional idea that beautiful women are physically well-endowed.

Woolf on the other hand, shows a more timid side of the phenomenal woman by introducing the character of the Angel of the House. She says that this angel is what most women project to the public. She is practical, sympathetic, charming, always willing to make sacrifices for her household, pure in mind and in heart but unfortunately does not have a mind of her own. The angel would rather lie to get a society’s approval to attain the success she wants.

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To transcend to become phenomenal, the Angel of the House must perish and give way to an honest individual who does not need to hide behind the image of a man. The phenomenal woman is brave enough to liberate herself from the domestic concepts of society. Why is it phenomenal for a woman to be herself in society? This is because the world has imposed so many expectations and has stereotyped women as the weaker of the genders.

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Men are allowed to be who they are. They can even write about the physical romantic reactions of people bluntly.

However, it is hard for a woman to express herself as frankly because society demands her to be submissive and docile. It takes so much courage for a woman to say what and how she feels even about the basic things that are common to man and woman (example: sex). The mere effort to express one’s self about any aspect of the world is what makes a woman phenomenal. I believe that Virginia Woolf’s description of a woman is closer to my own image of what a phenomenal lady really is.

Woolf was able to show the problems that most women encounter daily. Some of these troubles are deeply embedded not only in the reactions of society to a liberal woman but mostly in her subconscious thoughts. It takes great will power to kill the Angel of the House and also manage to survive smashing into a rock. It takes a very strong female indeed to look at society in the eye and say her thoughts about the world so bravely and develop into a phenomenal woman.

Updated: Nov 30, 2023
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Phenomenal Women: Embracing Authenticity and Defying Societal Norms. (2017, Mar 09). Retrieved from

Phenomenal Women: Embracing Authenticity and Defying Societal Norms essay
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