The Mysterious Death of Mary Rogers by Amy Gilman Srebnick
The story of Mary Rogers recorded in 1841 during the summer narrates the story of her mysterious death. Her body found on the shoreline of the Hudson River, bruised and waterlogged created a massive press outcry, public dismay and police pressure to solve the murder. Politicians and social reformers alike made maximum use of the story to challenge for social reforms in various social institutions. The story informs on the dangers women faced in the 18th century and the social bias placed on the feminine gender. Lady Rogers represented an evolved class of women in the society at that time that were not skeptical on taking full advantage of the sexual and economic opportunities present at the time. Her death was a platform for public outcry on sexual licensing, law reforms and the changing position of women in the society.
Mary Rodgers’ premature death shows the great lengths a woman would go to hide deeds that were socially unacceptable. The subject’s death was seen to have been an act of murderous rape. Her death was later attributed to ill-fated abortion. Lady Rogers had to undergo secretively the dangerous operation to hide her shame from society. As seen, the 18th century culture in the USA was narrow-minded towards the female gender placing morality over safety. Lady Rogers had to risk her safety to have an abortion so that the society would not know of her shame. Risking her safety was the better evil instead of her shame being known. This scenario vividly depicts what was wrong with the culture present at the time and the strength of the gender bias on the feminine gender
Gender bias has always been in existence since time immemorial and is mostly directed towards the female gender. The story of Lady Rogers connects all the way to modern day society where civil rights group and health bodies call for the legalization of abortion. Abortion is seen as the better option towards safe pregnancy terminations and minimization of unwanted pregnancies. Modern society also faces the challenge to accept the changing roles of women, with women nowadays stepping up and out into various fields and positions. There still exists a struggle against sexual violence against women with 90% of complete sexual violation cases in the USA being against women. The outstanding point from the death of Lady Rogers is the manner in which highly placed women in the society at that time took vast strides and risks to maintain their social ranks, to a point of putting their life in danger. The valuable point from the story is the reforms that came following her death in the police sector and a law restricting abortion.
The life story of
Lady Mary Rodgers is a depiction of society and the need for the society to put
emphasis on gender equality. The society should become more gender conscious to
both male and female genders. Emphasis needs to be placed o a multi-pillar
system that equally combines and manages social benefits. All social structures
and mechanisms, be it education, security, employment or health need to employ
an algorithm that does not favor any gender above the other and at the same
time recognizes the differences between the genders as each gender has specific
requirements. Though gender inequality is not as rampant as the 18th
century, it is still in existence and more reviews and changes need to be made
and placed to eradicate completely the social ill.
Srebnick, Amy G. The Mysterious Death of Mary Rogers: Sex and Culture in Nineteenth-Century New York. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995. Print.