Hardy was aware of the gender bias inherent in Victorian society and culture, the expectations that limited women’s opportunities. He explores the restricted and disempowered status of women through the experiences of Bathsheba Everdene. Although a perfectly capable, educated and head strong young women, she experiences the gender bias that all women experienced at that time. “Don’t anyone suppose that because I am women…I shall be up afield before you are up..
I shall astonish you all” it is evident that although perfectly capable of running the farm herself, bathshiba has to reassure and reinterate that she is capable of prefoming the task as the major sterotype of the victorian era that there were jobs suited to either men or women and that running a farm was not one that a women should undertake. Her forcefull language in this exerpt “I shall” highlights her strength of character and her utter willingness for the rest of society to have faith that even though she is a women, she is able to preform the duty to that of a mans standard – if not better.
Another example on the stereotypical nature that men and society put on women is evident through the expression “I shall never forgive god for making me a women and dearly am I beginning to pay for the honour of owning a pretty face. ” This crystillises our knowledge of the prejudience that women faced. Again, people of the victorian time believed that if you were a women, that your ‘career’ would be that to pleasure a man. Women were seen to have no depth beyond there outer physical bueaty and were seen to be emotional beings that had no sence of logic and education.
Bathshiba breaks these sterotypes. Not only is she a women, but she has a “pretty” face which allows her to prove to the victorian society that she is more than an emotion, intolerable, stay at home female. Fanny also allows Hardy to focus on social attitudes towards women. Although fanny does not appear that often throughout the book – and she would appear to the reader as a non-significant character. However, she is subtly a free tool that hardy uses to show the struggle of lower classes of women and the dominance of men in the Victorian period.