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Invisible Gender Rules Essay

1961 words - 8 pages

Invisible Gender Rules

Changing oneself is very difficult to achieve, but a complete change of a group of people is next to impossible. For women, the past many years have changed lives, careers and family life. Yet the women's
revolution did not remove discrimination from society, it only changed certain discriminatory actions into others. Fatima Mernissi wrote the short story "The Harem Within" about a young girl living in a Harem where her primary role is to become a slave to her husband, being both uneducated and unlike herself. Proceeding a few years ahead, Clarice Lispectors short story "Preciousness", introduces another young women with similar problems in the completely opposite place, for this young girls Harem is the society and expectations of her peers. Gender roles are very specific to different cultures and religions, yet what continues to be a problem is that discriminatory rules and regulations that are present. No matter how advanced a place can become, there will always be the discriminatory idea that one gender should be a certain way despite who they really are and who they would like to become Both women and men are subjected to this harsh reality.
Women and men have evolved for many years now, whether it is style, personality or religious beliefs there is always room for change. Although the women's' movement was arguably very successful, there are very many young women who still have personal and emotional problems brought up because of society. Lispector depicts these problems through her character in her short story "Preciousness" by describing the adolescent emotional growing pains that young many women go through. The events that partake in this short story are all very emotional, the young woman does not see herself as important, but instead she sees herself as ugly and lives her life trying to avoid the rest of the world. After the incident when the two youths attack her, "she felt danger [in] becoming "herself"" [page 774], and that "she was in danger of becoming an individual". [Page 774] It seems as if all of her life she was hidden behind this mask so that she could feel separate from the rest of the world. What society is now telling not only this young girl, but also the rest of the world, is that women have the beauty and men have the brains. During this day and age women are allowed in schools, and allowed to have jobs, but they are still discriminated against the way they act, dress and whom they hang out with. Society is an invisible wall, which discourages people from becoming themselves. On the contrary, dating back a few years, Mernissi introduces the women before the revolution. Her story is about a young lady who is born and raised in a Harlem. She is confined in her Arabic culture where "both men and women worked from dawn until very late at night. But men made money and...

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