Gilman be a radical concept and one that

Gilman forces her readers to confront society’s norms by juxtaposing the outside irrational world to the rational utopia of Herland. Gilman believes that out-dated traditions should be rejected and utility should be what society and individuals should strive for. She attacks the current traditions concerning the environment and farming, population, education, gender roles and relationships so that the reader will come to challenge traditions in favor of rationality. In Herland Gilman pushes for a more rational treatment of the environment and farming techniques by showing how the Herlanders control the population and grow food with consideration to the limited amount of land available. Herlanders have long since abandoned farm animals for favor of nuts and fruiting trees. They have even gotten rid of non-fruiting trees in favor for fruiting trees. This shows the how utility is valued in Herland. However in the outside world the useless is valued over the useful and the traditional is not kept because it is rational, but because it is traditional. Cattle and other farm animals are still kept even when it would be rational to grow food that feeds more people and takes up less land and material. Why waste food and water on farm animals when plants only need sunlight and water and much less of it than animals? (Quote on sustainable farming) But people in the outside world are selfish and irrational and do not see how by getting rid of the traditional was of feeding a population they can feed more people, cheaper and with less land. Herlanders also maintain their population so as to not overburden their environment so that they can feed everyone. The three men, Terry, Van and Jeff are mystified by these women. In their society the idea of population control would be a radical concept and one that most would spurn. But why they wonder? It would be the best course for everyone. With the lower population the resources could be more fairly distributed to all. This would decrease the amount of people in poverty and starving. (Quote on population control and poverty) They men are ashamed to admit the obvious faults of their society and as the reader is supposed to sympathize with the men, he too feels embarrassed over the idiotic traditions and selfishness of his society. Education in Herland is also treated more rationally than in the outside world. Children are not forced to repress their natural energetic nature. Children in Herland learn through play and their natural inquisitiveness. Children are encouraged to follow their interests and to grow on them. This fluid way of learning is much quicker than the traditional classroom setting. (Quote on traditional education vs new age education techniques) Herlanders purposely created these games to be educational as well as enjoyable. This is very unlike schools now that hold on to the traditional techniques of education whether they work or not. The Herlanders embrace of rationality lets them replace easily let outdated traditions. Gilman also challenges the current gender roles by showing how environment is the caused the differences in the genders. The women of Herland astound the three men because they are unlike their women. The three men first believe that women are naturally the weaker sex and that their place in society is caused by nature taking its course, but their experiences in Herland contradict this belief and it forces Van to come to see women as equals and that it is society that is the cause of the inequality. Women in herland are educated and physically fit. When the men first meet Alima, Elador and Celis, the girls easily outrun them due to their physically training. Gilman uses this to show that the physical differences in the sexes in due to the women of the outside world not being allowed to cultivate their physical abilities. The woman are also shown to be very well educated. (Quote about Herland’s intelligence) The men are caught of guard by the women’s knowledge of a wide range of topics. In their society it is believed that women are not as intelligent as men, but Gilman shows them that if women were equally educated the gap in intelligence would disappear. (Three men essay quote) (Feminism in Herland essay quote) The women of herland are shown as powerful, intelligent and rational. The men almost do not feel that these women are female because they lack the feminine traits of their women. They are far from attracted from these masculine woman and instead prefer the young, playful girls. Giman points out this thermophilic behavior and forces the reader to confront their attraction to girls over woman. (Quote compare of the woman and girls by the men) Though the women that the they first meet are far from the women of the outside world the men are not attracted to their abilities only to their girl-like qualities. Why value the useless qualities over the exceptionally ones? Gilman wants to show the reader that woman should be found attractive for valuable qualities and not the useless ones. What is valuable in marrying a girl who is far from able compared to an educated woman?  The men also dislike the lack of femininity in the woman’s dress and haircuts. (Jeff’s quote) This is even after they see the practicality and comfort of wearing reasonable clothing. Gilman point out here the irrationality of the current days clothing especially women’s clothing. Why should clothing be uncomfortable or impractical? Gilman shows her ideal relationship through Van. Both Terry and Jeff are supposed to show the faults in inequality in relationships.(Three men essay quote) Vans relationship is shown to be the strongest because he values Elador as a person and an equal. However, Terry sees Alima as an object to be owned and as so his lesser. Jeff is the opposite extreme. He sees Celis as his better and he worships her. Both of these are irrational stances because Alima is just as physically powerful and even more intelligent than Terry, ma ny due to his refusal to give up his hatred of women. (Quote scene with Alima fighting off Terry). Though she does fall into the trap of the perfect woman and because of this Jeff is not shown nearly as flawed as he should be. This issue is caused with the women of Herland being flawless. If Celis would have been shown more as a human she probably would have become frustrated with Jeff’s worship. This is because by worshiping Celis instead of seeing her as his equal he is not treating her as human. Also in the (insert scene with Jeff taking basket from celis) this could be seen as insulting to an independent strong woman because she is completely capable of carrying it by herself. When Gilman was writing Herland it was more than just a call for gender equality but for the end of irrational traditions. Gilman uses Herland to show how current traditions are holding society back due to their out-dated nature. This is why current gender roles, clothing and other societal norms should be based on rationality. Everything should be suited to its purpose and aestheticism should never come before utility.