In her psychological study of women's development, In a Different Voice, Carol Gilligan writes: ''The essence of moral decision is the exercise of choice and the willingness to accept responsibility for that choice. To the extent that women perceive themselves as having no choice, they correspondingly excuse themselves from the responsibility that decision entails" (67). According to Gilligan, women's perception that they have no choice stems from the belief enforced by society that women are dependent on men for protection, support, and approval. Because of their dependency, women further surrender the initiative of making choices to men. And because they don't make the choices, women are also able to believe that they are not responsible for what happens. This may seem like a benefit to some, but along with the surrender of choice and responsibility goes the surrender of control. The woman who accepts this loss of control is fated never to reach true adulthood, and dissatisfaction and unhappiness will be the probable results.
© 1991 by the Board of Student Publications, University of Northern Iowa
"Self-Identity and Moral Responsibility in the House of Mirth,"
Draftings In: Vol. 6
, Article 5.
Available at: https://scholarworks.uni.edu/draftings/vol6/iss3/5