This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Sexism And Gender Roles Essay

1228 words - 5 pages

Throughout history, sexism and gender roles in society has been a greatly debated topic. The Women’s Rights Movements, N.O.M.A.S. (The National Organization of Men Against Sexism), M.A.S.E.S. (Movement Against Sexual Exploitation and Sexism), and many other movements and groups have all worked against the appointment of gender roles and sexist beliefs. Many authors choose to make a controversial topic a central theme in their work of literature, and the theme of gender roles is no exception. “Phenomenal Woman” by Maya Angelou, “Diving into the Wreck” by Adrienne Rich, and “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman all address the gender roles that have been placed by society.
Maya Angelou was born shortly after the Women’s Rights Movement, and was a social activist as an adult. When Angelou began to write, she chose to write about subjects that had substance and meaning to other people, such as abuse, religion, occupation, racism, sexism, relationships, and other topics. One such poem is “Phenomenal Woman,” a poem on societies standards for what makes a woman physically attractive. At the beginning of her poem, she claims that other women wonder how she attracts men when she isn’t “cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size.” In this statement, Angelou is recognizing that the majority of society believes that it is favorable to be skinny, but she goes on to state that it is “the span of my hips,” “the swing in my waist,” “the grace of my style,” and “the need for my care,” that attracts men to her. In other words, Angelou is claiming that it isn’t her size that attracts men, but her womanliness, her grace, and her kindness. In her poem, Angelou stresses the importance of self-confidence and makes it very clear that she has great confidence in her body language and a deep sense of being a woman; she clearly feels empowered by her womanhood and her figure. She ends every stanza with “Phenomenal Woman, That’s Me,” singing out her inner self and her joy in her physique without ever claiming that she is better than anyone else. Angelou refused to allow societies standards for women to dictate whether or not she was beautiful and stressed the importance of self expression. The poem “Phenomenal Woman” shows that Angelou believes that beauty lies in having a successful personality, not in having the the body type that society believes is most appealing for a woman.
Another work of literature that addresses gender roles is “Diving into the Wreck” by Adrienne Rich. The story of the poem is rather simple the speaker is telling about their experience of going scuba diving and visiting the sight of a sunken ship wreck. Although the theme quickly flashes by, the theme of gender is mentioned in stanza 8, line 7 when the speaker states, “I am she: I am he,” referring to themselves as both a man and a woman. Although it’s rather common for the reader to not know the gender of the speaker in a poem, it’s rather unusual for a poet to directly...

Find Another Essay On Sexism and Gender Roles

Agamemnon and Gender Roles Essay

1153 words - 5 pages Throughout the years, history has tried to examine how gender roles have changed over time and views of how women should be have changed. However there are many examples of current stereotypes of women that linger in today's society. Following the play Agamemnon we will examine the three female characters and how their stereotypes apply to the current day society. A watchmen being the person who must stay awake to watch out for any

Gender Roles, Stereotyping and Gender Bias

2335 words - 9 pages Gender affects every aspect of our life, from how we feel about ourselves and set our goals in educational, recreational and work opportunities as well as the the nature and extent of our participation in social and civic life. It has a strong impact on the way we practice our religion, the way we dress, the way we express our feelings and the nature of all of our relationships with others. This paper explores various facets of gender roles

Society, Gender Roles and Gender-Conflict

1799 words - 7 pages Society, Gender Roles and Gender-Conflict Time and time again gender-conflict is brought to the attention of the public in various forms. In our time someone who wants to make a point about gender-conflict and the inequality that is present will be more likely to use television or song to reach their audience. This however is a fairly new technology. Books or some form of writing on the other hand have been around for thousands of years

Gender Roles: Then and Now

1705 words - 7 pages practiced depending on the gender of these individuals. However, in the advancing world we are currently living in, these duties are beginning to intertwine in an effort to allow equal rights amongst opposite genders. This effort to break the sexist barrier, which encompasses our world, has already begun rattling the chains of politicians and the like. However, with the progressions made thus far in retaliation to sexism and unequal gender privileges

About gender roles and feminism

782 words - 3 pages analytical skills, but they generally have not been given mechanical toys like trains to play with.Parents also have a hand in shaping their children's gender roles through the kinds of jobs they assign them around the house. Basically, boys are made to mow the lawn, shovel snow and so on. Whereas girls do cleaning up around the house, doing dishes, cooking and so on. Boys are often encouraged by their parents to exhibit independent behaviors, but girls

Gender Roles, Identity and Stereotypes

976 words - 4 pages Gender and identity both play a significant role in everyday life. Photographers who deal with gender roles and stereotypes are Cindy Sherman, Sarah Lucas, Ilona Szwarc, (Gillian Wearing, Claude Cahun) From birth, people are divided into two sex categories- male or female. This is inevitable, and is given to each individual person based on the reproductive organs they were born with. Gender, on the other hand, is the social and cultural

Gender Roles and Sexuality in Latin America

1179 words - 5 pages Marianismo and machismo are the traditional gender roles in Latin America. Marianismo is the aspect of female gender roles while machismo is the aspect of male gender roles. The key belief of machismo is that men hold supremacy over women. For the most part these gender roles conform to traditional understanding of sexuality, masculinity, and femininity. There is only one key contradiction I found when it came to traditional understandings of

Exploiting Stereotypes and Gender Roles in Gaming

3022 words - 12 pages that women are sexual objects. Dietz’s study was one of the earliest studies to examine stereotypical portrayals in video games. The main focus being gender roles in video games. “Only recently has gaming research begun to concern itself with the portrayals of game characters, and this research has often focused on the portrayal of women in games” (Burgess). The portrayal of female characters in video games is astonishingly sexualized and

Gender roles and the Transgender community

913 words - 4 pages Gender roles have a tendency to exist on a binary in society. There is man and there is woman. One is masculine and one is feminine. One is strong and one is presumed to be weak. That is how the binary functions. That’s how society functions and that is how we learn how to handle our gender roles in society. I am woman so I am supposed to be feminine. I am supposed to be passive to balance out my male counterparts aggression. I am supposed to

Patriarchy and Gender Roles in Genesis

911 words - 4 pages Patriarchy and Gender Roles in GenesisChristine GreenwoodSouth UniversityWorld Literature Running head: PATRIARCHY AND GENDER ROLES IN GENESIS 1 PATRIARCHY AND GENDER ROLES IN GENESIS 2 Patriarchy and Gender Roles in GenesisPatriarchy is defined as a form of social organization in which males dominate females, while matriarchy is a female dominated society. (Macionis, 2008). While matriarchy does exist, it is patriarchy that is prevalent

Gender Roles in War and Peace

1953 words - 8 pages Particular accepted gender roles are enforced throughout peacetime and war, often with violent consequences. Initially this essay will explore the meaning behind gendered roles, their creation, and their importance in modern society. Using a case study of the conflict and ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and Herzegovina, this essay will then investigate the prevalence of sexual violence in war. Gender is a social construct and does exist

Similar Essays

Gender Biases And Sexism In Writers

1310 words - 5 pages Gender biases are what our society has been trying to avoid for decades. However in many instances it plays a huge role on the outcome of creative outlets. Writing is generally a very personal reflection on some ones values, views and opinions. What role does gender play on someone’s writing style? Could an entire book of poetry revolve around the author being a male or female? Sexism is an issue that has plagued our world for

Advertising And Gender Roles Essay

576 words - 2 pages Advertising and Gender Roles Children's advertising reflects the social standings of men and women in society today. Children watch an average of 37.5 hours of television a week and approximately 714 commercials are shown during this time. The majority of these ads strengthen gender stereotypes. Males' ads are concerned with authority, while females' ads are concerned with domesticity. Most little boys' ads revolve around cars, trucks, video

Class And Gender Roles Essay

1507 words - 6 pages with those around him but ultimately fails because of his differences. Society's expectations of gender and class roles cause Dorothy Allison and Paul to feel conflicted with who they are, which results in their alienation from family members and peers. As a result of gender expectations, people feel the need to choose an identity instead of being themselves. Males are seen as masculine, aggressive, and not too sensitive or emotional

Gender Roles And Prejudice Essay

2149 words - 9 pages Gender Roles and Prejudice "Gender roles in our society are based on prejudice" is an essay about the ways in which we stereotype each gender. These stereotypes lead the children, through socialisation, to conform to the way in which both male and females are supposed to act in society. For example, the male stereotype in supposed to have physical strength, be aggressive and competitive characteristics, whereas female