http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0bENHsyGPg (The Age of Innocence trailer)
I read this novel a long time ago, but it was only today that I realized how relevant it is to use on understanding Emma Watson’s statement toward “actual gender equality”. As she made examples such as how her male friends not able to talk about their feelings for “being boys”, to how she was classed as “bossy” for wanting to direct a family play, in fact Edith Wharton made a few examples in “The Age of Innocence” too.
In fact “The Age of Innocence” pointed out many inequalities that both men and women suffered, beside the class problems – such as if you have problems, solve it quietly. For example Newland the leading male character, despite being supportive to Ellen’s search of freedom but he had to fulfill the duties of persuading her to go back to her husband. Both men and women were pretty much denied the freedom of to marry people they choose to be with, or were forced into stigmas over not following the orders of what “respectable class” ought to do in different aspects, which as a result no men or women were actually superior from one another regarding power. This situation was no different to men and women nowadays, we were placed into different expectation as we went along, for example our expectation of what men look like with their muscles (men’s work to deal with ideals over the six-peck, when beer belly often being demoralized).
So yes, it is true that we got a long way to go on ACTUAL or ULTIMATE GENDER EQUALITY.