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English 11128 November 2012Essay 5: OrlandoVirginia Woolf was a strong believer of gender equality while her beliefs stemmed from her personal life of struggles from being a female during the nineteenth century. The extent that Woolf identifies differences between men and women as a result of gender or sex is elusive, as she displayed in the novel, Orlando. She believed biology does not define individuals and one’s perception is their reality; therefore, nobody has the power delineate another being.Scientifically, sex and gender greatly differ. The term sex includes biological differences; like chromosomes, hormonal profiles, and identifiable by sex organs. Gender is the description of characteristics that a specific society or culture deems masculine or feminine. According to the website monash.edu, gender roles attribute to how a ‘real man’ or a ‘real woman’ should act through behaviors and characteristics. This is an objective matter in which Virginia Woolf does not necessarily agree with, and that is displayed through the character of Orlando.In chapter four, Woolf describes Orlando’s initial change from a man to a woman. When Orlando wakes up as a woman, she is not concerned with her change in gender because she feels
no different than she did before. Orlando’s sexuality played almost an absent role throughout the