The Woman in the Family and Society

The exhibition captures the woman’s involvement in society and family throughout history, presenting the woman in two hypostases, in a seemingly antithetic manner, proposing two perspectives, stages of the same evolutionary process. Two profiles, two aspects of the Romanian femininity are presented – the woman within the traditional society (the modern age and the beginning of the contemporary epoch as chronological references), and the profile of the emancipated contemporary woman, starting from the premise that each historical period has its own female pattern.
Analyzing the theme, namely the woman in different relationships, we have chosen to refer to the roles of the woman in the family and society (which overlap up to a certain point), being necessary to specify that in the traditional society the roles of the woman were limited to the domestic domain, but in order to provide a complete and realistic picture of the woman, we chose to present the woman also in her state of fulfillment of her social roles, an aspect underlined and connected with the attainment and assumption of a profession.
Given the need to organize and synthesize information and to provide an easy unitary picture of the issue the subject carries regarding the condition of women, we chose to relate to two evolutionary, successive stages, we considered and called the traditional society (equivalent to a longer historical period marked by traditions and customs, which implies a hierarchical reality in which women’s relations were subordinated) versus the contemporary period, highlighted by the emancipation of women, in the posture of causal relationship with the individualism and freedom of women to operate elections socially and private.
In the first room is presented the woman within the traditional society – with the roles and responsibilities which came to her and which were mainly related to house and home – she was fulfilling household roles – she was wife, mother and she was involved in craft activities.
The most significant role of the woman within the traditional family was the maternity, the main attributions of the woman being to raise and care for the children, who otherwise represented the reason for being a family.
Within the limits of the domestic space, woman also engages in economic activities. We have tried to highlight this aspect by referring to the craftsmanship she used to practice – mainly those of the household textile industry (garment making), but she also took part to the works related to field and agriculture.
Women’s roles in the family have been structured and evolved in close connection with the family typology which in traditional society can be described as a hierarchical institution based on marriage and the authority of the husband who administers the heritage and exercises power over all the members.
The fundamental change regarding the condition of women within the contemporary society, was accomplished through the change of social order and the development of individualism, which in the sphere of private life determined the transformation of family functions and led to the reversal of roles and the transition from the patriarchal authority based on power and control towards the nuclear family structured on the development of autonomy and egalitarian relations types.
In the contemporary society, women obtained the freedom to make individual choices, unlike traditional societies where customs and tradition are the ones that determine the horizons of action.
While in the past the woman’s destiny was conditioned from the outside, being marked by the group and the community influences mainly, in contemporary society, the control direction moved from the outside to the interior as a consequence of the formation and development of the aspirations towards autonomy and a greater freedom of expression of individual will.
In connection with the evolution of society as a whole and with education, the freedom to take personal life choices has led to a greater involvement of women in the social and occupational sphere.
The perspective of the nowadays woman, we tried to represent her by bringing into attention her professional dimension, the assumption of new duties and responsibilities as a result of choosing and practicing a profession.
Thus, starting from the general and customizing by evoking the personality of the artist – soprano Virginia Zeani, we wanted to outline the profile of today’s women, bringing into discussion the advantages of modernity, the opportunities and the limits the woman is currently facing.
Our intention was, that through this exhibition, we create a framework of problem-solving, in which starting from the past we come to the real problems of our lives, to give women a starting point and a benchmark in self-analysis and finding answers to their personal or professional lives and to promote the concept of personal development within the museum space.