Both males and females have influences that help decide the ways in which they think, dress, speak, and act within the situation of society. Cultural and personal gender roles are a big influence on the way people live. Learning plays a role in this process of shaping gender roles. Peers, parents, movies, teachers, television, books, and movies could all teach and reinforce gender roles throughout the lifespan.
Gender roles contribute to both the past and the present. However, gender roles were a bigger issue in the past. Men were seen as superior to women. More specifically, I’d like to focus on gender roles that convey male dominance. The superior roles of men are prominent in many works of literature that I am associated with such as The Color Purple by Alice Walker.
In Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, gender roles are one of the more interesting concepts. One way to view the discriminatory gender roles is through the character of Mr. ______, also known as Albert. Albert married Celie when she was younger, solely because she would have the skill of taking care of the kids and keeping the house up. As Celie came upon her teen years, her father sells her off. His selling points were that “She ugly … But she ain’t no stranger to hard work. And she clean. And God done fixed her” (Walker 9).
He thought she was unattractive but needed someone to do all the dirty work. The marriage was of necessity, rather than love. This is seen through the way Albert treats her as property. Celie was forced to clean and cook, participate in sexual acts, work in the fields, and be treated badly by everyone in the immediate family.
Celie’s father was another contributor to the male dominance in this work. Her mother, who was sick, was unable to protect her from her father’s rapes, of which two children were produced. The father made it clear “you better not never tell nobody buy God. It’d kill your mammy” (Walker 1), an act of silencing her. Her new husband’s treatment of her was similar to that of her father’s, she was...