Lady Chatterley's Lover
Women and Femininity Theme
If you think that Lawrence is being a little hard on men in Lady Chatterley's Lover, wait until you hear what he has to say about women. When they're not being promiscuous, they're being frigid; they have the wrong kind of orgasm (thanks, Freud); and, worst of all, they don't get dinner on time. Are you turned on yet? To be fair—kind of—Lawrence lays most of the blame on men. If men were men, he (via Mellors) says, women would be women. But he sure does spend a lot of time talking about how awful women are along the way. Really, the only creatures that seem to be faithfully fulfilling their feminine role are Mellors's chickens—and you get the sense he'd like a harem of human women, too.
Questions About Women and Femininity
- How much of women's modern condition is the fault of men, and how much is the fault of the women themselves?
- How would you describe Lawrence's ideal woman?
- What role are women supposed to fill in the world?
- Consider the women in the novel: Connie, Hilda, Mellors's wife, Ivy Bolton, even little Connie Mellors. In what ways to do they fail to embody Lawrence's feminine ideal?
Chew on This
Lady Chatterley's Lover suggests that women form their identity through men. If men fail to be men, then women will not be able to be women.
In D. H. Lawrence's vision of the two sexes, women are fundamentally passive. Being active destroys their essential femininity.