Living in a world where as a woman, you are were used only to reproduce and populate the party would have been terrible, but that is what all the women in 1984 experienced. 1984 is set as a dystopian society where the Party sees all, and controls all. Winston Smith, the main character, often wonders what the point of him living is, because he does not believe in the Party and hopes to someday rebel against them. In this society they are set up to be “married” with a stranger, and are only together so they can reproduce for the Party. During school, the Party teaches the children to spy on their parents. Winston had a few women in his life throughout the book, ones he cared for and others not so much. Women were not treated well in the society, and were only being used through the book, women were used for sex, even though there were a part of the anti-sex league.
Love and marriage are very important for the Party, but not in a positive sense. The Party sees love and marriage as a compelling force and they try to regulate and suppress their people. Winston has a wife, Katherine, who he doesn’t feel any connection to at all. He is only married to her because that is who the Party says Winston should be with.
“So the performance continued to happen, once a week quite regularly, whenever it was not impossible. She even used to remind him of it in the morning, as something which had to be done that evening and which must not be forgotten. She had two names for it. One was ‘making a baby,’ and the other was ‘our duty to the Party.’”
Winston did not like being with Katherine, because she supported and listened to the Party. He had no feelings for her, but he had to be with her because of her duty. Winston did have a connection with a girl named Julia. She was much younger than Winston, and was not married. The two couldn’t get married because the Party gets to choose who is with who. ‘Confession is not betrayal. What you say or do doesn’t matter, only feelings matter. If they could make me stop loving you – that would be the real betrayal.’ Winston and Julia were soulmates even though they were not able to be married, they still shared similar beliefs, and truly wanted to be with each other before they got caught.
Women are not always treated with respect in the present day, but they were not treated well in 1984 either. Women were used for pornosec and for reproducing. They were not well respected in the book. “He leaned with astonishment that all the women in the Pornosec, except the head of the department, were girls. The theory was that men, whose sex instincts were less controllable than those of women, were in greater danger of being corrupted by the filth they handled.” Women were not as valued as men were in the book, they were mostly used for sex and they didn’t have good jobs. Also, a mother’s job was to protect their children in the book, but often the mothers were evaporated. “He never saw his mother again…When he came back his mother had disappeared. This was already becoming normal at that time. Nothing was gone from the room except his mother and his sister. They had not taken any clothes, not even his mother’s overcoat. To this day he did not know with any certainty that his mother was dead.” Winston had very few memories from his mother, but he thinks for some reason that he might have been the reason that his mother isn’t around anymore. Winston doesn’t know that if his mother is dead for sure, but since he didn’t see her for so long he believes she is.
Throughout 1984 some people that were apart of the anti-sex league, meaning that there a group of advocates completely celibacy for both sexes. The women that were a part of this group would wear a scarlet sash at all times. There was also a junior anti-sex league, that was against all children from having intercorse. “A narrow scarlet sash, emblem of the Junior Anti-Sex League, was wound several times round the waist of her overalls, just tightly enough to bring out the shapeliness of her hips.” Some girls were part of the anti-sex league, like Julia, who Winston would very often meet up with, while trying to keep it from the Party. Some women in the anti-sex league would participate in sex, but keep it from the government so they would not be used for the pornosec. The government had this group because they didn’t want some women to take part in personal joys of life. If you were not apart of this group you would be required a once a week “duty” only to have control over their people.
The women in Winston’s life, and almost all women in 1984 were not treated well. It was a dystopian set society, where the government saw everything, and controlled everything. The women were not treated well, they were used and sometimes they even had joy taken away from them so they could not live their life they wanted to. Women were often evaporate, or killed their whole existence from the society if they did not live their life how the government wanted them to.