In this document Im going to dispute how Jacobs work shows the social construction of gender in the family, workplace and church in both white and slave cultures. One way that we can explore social construction of gender in the workplace in the slaves is in the worthless working conditions for women and man in this era. Slave women were forced to obey with sexual offenses by their masters on a regular basis.
For example, Lindas new master Mr. Flint was cruel and careless and started insisting Linda to have sexual relationships with him; He told me, I was his property; that I must be subject to his will in all things.
My soul revolted against the mean tyranny. But where could I turn for protection? No matter whether the slave girl be as black as ebony or as fair as her mistress.
n either case, there is no shadow of law to protect her from insult, from violence, or even from death; all these are inflicted by fiends who bear the shape of men.
Even tho Linda struggled against Flints proposals for along time she knew he was eventually going to get what he wanted. An example of how men were treated in the working environment in this generation, is in Jacobs work where she shows how Lindas brother, William was treated just by getting late to work for the first time.
That circumstance afforded his master an opportunity to vent his spleen. He was put in jail. This shows how their masters will always find an excuse to be able to mistreat them, even tho they didn’t deserve that type of consequences.
After these consequences, their masters didnt value how exceptional workers they were and that without them they will never get to have the same quality of work they gave them.For example, after two days of not having William at work he tried to find somebody to do his office work; but every thing went wrong without William. He was released, and ordered to take his old stand, with many threats, if he was not careful about his future behavior.
Another way that we can examine social construction of gender in the family in the slaves and the whites is in the consequences of the masters actions. As said in page 81 of chapter nine in Jacobs book; Slavery is a curse to the whites as well as to the blacks. It makes the white fathers cruel and sensual; the sons violent and licentious; it contaminates the daughters, and makes the wives wretched. And as for the colored race, it needs an abler pen than mine to describe the extremity of their sufferings, the depth of their degradation.
Men in this era just thought that having affairs with their slaves was just a hobby but they never realized all the damage that they were bringing to their lives. We could image the frustration that the wives felt, they often punished the slave womens for their husbands misbehavior. Another way that we can analyze gender social construction in the slaves and white is in the master-slave relationships children. Many of the mulatto/ racially mixed children, that were products from this relationships were most probably have a miserable life due to that they were not going to be considered free even though they had white blood in them and also because their fathers will never admit their paternity.
The poor kids were also going to become a uncomfortable reminder for the mistress due to the masters affair. An example of this from Jacobs book is in chapter 11 where she talks about Lindas baby and her bad health after she had her baby born early due to being living in the attic of Aunt Marthas. After Linda gets out of the attic, she is stuck in bed for a year, then her baby gets really sick. She prays for him to get better and survive, even thought she knows that it will be way better for her baby to die as to live as a slave. We can see how bad was slavery in this era that women even though of death for their children to be happy and dont suffer.
Its important to realize how religion had a rough impact during social construction in slaves lives. In chapter 13 of Jacobs book she tells us how church administration were influenced by the society beliefs, to tell them that it is written in their Christian religion that they have to obey their masters orders.For example in Jacobs work it says that a priest named Reverend Pike, being a black free man, tells all the slaves that its their Christian obligation to accede to their masters regulations. This shows how even other non-slave black people were still accepting the fact that people like them where being treated those ways and didnt do anything to help them. Even tho the priest was the same race as the slaves he consider himself a higher and better class than the slaves.
Another example of how religion was bad to the slaves is when Jacobs talks about the time that even thought it was illegal for a slave to teach, Linda taught Fred, a black individual that liked to attend to church, how to read that eventually was able to read the New Testament. Jacob also states a very interesting point in chapter 13 asking herself that how where white pastors not able to sleep with women that were white, but it was totally okay for those pastors to rape slaves. This shows how unfair life was for slaves that just because they looked different they needed to be treated different than the normal people. After reading Jacobs book we can conclude how in the cult of domesticity women were private and men were public.