Resistance against Women’s Objectification Portrayed in Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God

Made Dian Ratnawati(1), Mala Hernawati(2*)

(1) English Department, Universitas Gadjah Mada
(2) English Department, Universitas Gadjah Mada
(*) Corresponding Author


In the early twentieth century, African-American women in the southern United States faced double oppression as a result of patriarchy and racism. They strive to reclaim their independence, all the more so when they are bound by their marriage. Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937) is Zora Neale Hurston's magnum opus, which chronicles the objectification of a young African-American woman called Janie Crawford during her marriage. Through the lens of Black Feminism, this research aims to identify the many forms of female objectification present in the novel and to ascertain the responses taken by the main character in response to the objectification. This research makes use of Martha Nussbaum's and Rae Langton's objectification ideas. Additionally, this study employs Kumea Shorter-Gooden's resistance strategies to evaluate the main character's strategies for resisting objectification. Janie Crawford was subjected to nine distinct forms of objectification by both her first and second husbands, Logan and Jody, according to this study. Additionally, this research illustrates how Janie Crawford's opposition to objectification is fueled by the concept of self-definition. In general, the findings indicate that the novel is centered on the problem of women's objectification and is a timely representation of African American women's lives in the early twentieth century.


objectification, African-American women, resistance, self-definition

Full Text:



Bernard, P. S. (2007). The Cognitive Construction of the Self in Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God. CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture, 9(2).

Budiarti, Y.O. (2014). The resistance of the objectification against women in the sinden by Halimah Munawar. Unpublished manuscript. Universitas Diponegoro.

Collins, H. P. (2000). Black feminist thought. Routledge.

Hurston, Z. N. (2000). Their eyes were watching God. Harper Collins Publishers.

Langton, R. (2007). Feminism in Philosophy. Oxford Handbooks Online.

Nussbaum. M. C. (1995). Objectification. Philosophy Public Affairs, 24(4), 249–291.

Permatasari, N. (2015). Objectification of women as seen through Anastasia Steel in Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James. Unpublished manuscript. Universitas Sanata Dharma.

Ramadhanty, C. (2018). Women Objectification in Austen and Grahamesmith’s Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Grapic Novel. Unpublished manuscript. Airlangga University.

Shorter-Gooden, K. (2004). Multiple Resistance Strategies: How African American Women Cope with Racism and Sexism. Journal of Black Psychology, 30(3), 406–425.

Tong, R. (2009). Feminist thought. Westview Press.

Trisnareswari, P. (2005). Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God: A Black American Woman’s Struggle for Her Personal Ambitions. Unpublished manuscript. Sanata Dharma University.

Tyson, L. (2006). Critical theory today: A user-friendly guide. Routledge.


Article Metrics

Abstract views : 350 | views : 360


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2020 Made Dian Ratnawati, Mala Hernawati

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Lexicon Office

English Department
Faculty of Cultural Sciences,
Universitas Gadjah Mada
Soegondo Building, 3rd Floor, Room 306
Yogyakarta, Indonesia 55281
Telephone: +62 274 513096

ISSN: 2746-2668 (Online)
ISSN: 2302-2558 (Print)

Web Analytics View Stats

Creative Commons License
LEXICON is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.