Women’s Representation In The Great Gatsby

1925 words - 8 pages

Women were not equal to men during the era of the 1920’s. In “The Great Gatsby,” Fitzgerald represents a negative, misogynistic, stereotypical view of the various types of women during the era of the 1920’s. During the that time, women were not portrayed in a positive light., By writing a book centered around that time period, it causes one to wonder the message Fitzgerald was trying to illustrate about women and what he was saying about society as a whole. Fitzgerald represents the view of women within the 20’s by depicting each character as a representation of the many stereotypes occurring within that era. The main characters Daisy, Myrtle, and Jordan each display pertinent roles within the story representing how women’s roles were defined by their relationships, often times they were objectified, and how they were overruled by male dominance.
In” The Great Gatsby” the social, cultural, and emotional expectation of women seems to be in contradiction to women who are meant to empower others. The three main women within the story are not given substance; instead they are more defined by their relationships. Women are dependent upon their partners because marriage defined ones social status or success. This dependency stemmed from the idea of success. Unfortunately Daisy, Myrtle, and Jordan’s lives are defined by their partners, and are left up to the status of whom they marry. For instance Daisy, despite her love for Gatsby, it is apparent wealth and status overruled her love for him. She eventually wed Tom Buchanan because he ensured prosperity and status, opposed to Gatsby (Fitzgerald, pg 131). Daisy is a superficial, materialistic, yet beautiful woman, but her life is basically ran by Tom. She embodies a common stereotypical woman within the 1920’s. She is a trophy wife who ignores the fact that Tom has committed adultery; she has a comfortable lifestyle and by associating herself with Tom she automatically becomes entitled to wealth, status, and respect in this elite society. Her actions are viewed as foolish, creating the stigma around women, and though Daisy does not see herself as a fool, surprisingly she expresses that “the best thing a girl can be in this world [is] a beautiful little fool (Fitzgerald, pg 17).” Yet, Daisy is not a fool; she is merely a victim of her environment which is influenced by gender, money, and status. This leads to Daisy having no power or control over her own life and feeling as though women can only be “beautiful fools” as stated earlier.
Myrtle also adds to this stigma. She longs for a life that is fun and glamorous, but reality is she is the wife of a pump mechanic, meaning she will never have access to mobility in class or status. She is a lower class woman, which led her to engage in an affair with Tom Buchanan; it is the closest she will come to feeling higher up socially. Myrtle will do just about anything to be a part of the upper class despite the consequences. There was even a point in time when...

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