You probably remember the striking news of November 2012, when a Chinese man made a claim in court against his wife for being ugly and giving birth to an ugly baby. Well, apparently the woman had a plastic surgery some time before that – probably short before she met her husband. Actually, these man and woman reminded me of the three-act play A Doll’s House written by Henrik Ibsen, in particular the married couple of Nora and Torvald Helmer. The events of this play take place in the 19th century, but in spite of this, the play focuses on the gender roles and the place of woman in the society. Most importantly, the problems depicted in the play are still topical in today’s setting.
Ibsen depicts Nora as a typical wife – at least, it seems so at the first sight. The principles of her daily life lie in staying at home, caring for children, doing some household chores. Besides, she buys some fancy clothes to please the eye of her husband, and thus she fully submits herself to him and family life. However, when delving deeper, it becomes obvious that Nora is not that typical at all. She keeps some secrets from her husband and secretly goes against his will. In particular, she keeps her own secrets regarding the dating sacrifice she had to do for her spouse. When Nora’s husband revealed this secret of hers, she realized how much he underestimated her and how little he saw of her, so she made a decision to leave him.
Torvald Helmer is a manifestation of superficiality. Instead of worrying about his wife and family life, he was concerned about his social status and reputation. In his opinion, a woman was completely under her husband’s control and guidance. His wife was a kind of a trophy for him, but when faced with the ugly truth, the man turns into a coward.
In conclusion, our society is full of such Torvald-like men (well, not only men but also people in general). Women can make themselves heard and considered by men if they pluck up the courage and speak up.