Monday, March 5, 2012

my essay

       Ever since we can remember, we’ve had this idea of how a certain gender should be. Whether or not we notice, Gender Roles seem to have a huge impact in the society we live in. In advertisements we see the masculine male, who is handsome, buff, which is related to strong. If he is with a woman, the woman is usually beautiful, tiny, and delicate, which can be related to weakness. In Disney movies, we’ve always seen the same old plot that a handsome prince comes and saves a damsel in distress. But it’s not only in Disney movies in which we see that. In movies that are out today we sometimes see that the huge role that gender roles partake in. Even in real life, outside from movies we see that gender roles have a huge influence. Women are usually seen as the caring, who provide warmth and love while men who are usually seen as the strong, “macho”, and the breadwinner. In the 1950’s and even in the present, we see this. In the 1950’s a lot of women stayed home and were the housewife and took care of the kids and had a home cooked meal for the family while the husband was away at work. Today, we still see this, but it’s not as present as it was back then. Gender Roles has also influenced us on how we live, on popular culture, such as movies and even in books. Even in advertisements we see gender roles. The graphic Novel, the Surrogates uses gender roles that are similar to how gender roles are viewed in society in real life.

        In the graphic Novel, the surrogates we are taken to a society where people from the comfort of their own home operates as surrogates. These surrogates are robots who look how one wants them to look. This allows the owner to do normal day-to-day errands or activities without leaving the comfort of their own home.  We are introduced to the main character a man named Harvey Greer, who is on the case to find the person who is trying to kill off these surrogates because of these surrogates, people are forgetting what is real and they would rather be lazy and not enjoy life and they let vanity control their life. Harvey Greer, is a policeman, that seems to be strong, and in the end comes to his senses on the dangers of surrogates, and seems to be strong. In the novel, we are introduced to Harvey’s wife Margaret. Margaret is so consumed with her surrogate because it makes her young and feels beautiful. She can’t stand the fact that she is aging and when her husband Harvey tries knocking some sense into her, she won’t budge. The gender role that is being exemplified here is that while the man has common sense, he tried telling her that she didn’t need the surrogate that he wanted to see the real her, she wouldn’t listen. It showed that women could only care about how they look. At the end of the novel, Margaret commits suicide after the surrogates were disabled. Also, another gender role that were seen in the book was the creator of the original surrogate actually was a woman named victoria who changed her name to Victor. The reason why she chose to change her name and gender was simply because a woman could not be taken seriously and men could, so in order to be taken seriously because she was a woman, she had to change. It showed that for some reason women were untrustworthy and maybe even delicate. We’ve always had an idea that strength is by how big are a man’s muscle. In the novel, the gender role that were perceived is that men were strong and the rational ones, while women were untrustworthy and vain.
      Women tend to be viewed as vain because of how the media portrays us. In real life, we see magazines and it’s women usually beautiful celebrities trying to sell us a product. If you pay close attention, you will see that the product that they are trying to sell us is a beauty product. We also see how a women’s role is viewed as vain in the shampoo section or the hair product section at target, or Wal-Mart. Shampoo and conditioner is a unisex product, but it seems to be appealing more towards women then men. You do see the shampoo that does say “for men” but those are very limited. Because women care more for beauty product, companies try to get their attention more. It just shows that many think that one of the many roles that a woman can play is being vain. Or in television shows, they always make a joke about how a girl must always go shopping in order to be happy, or we see in a show or we’ve all encountered a friend that can’t go out because they have no make up on. It is a sad reality that we have this idea on how women are supposed to look or how man is supposed to look because of the gender role that we’ve came to know. In the book, Margaret was so vain that she would rather commit suicide when her surrogate who was younger was disconnected. She did not want to see herself nor accept the reality that we all age and we all grow up that beauty is not only in youth, but as we grow older too. Another juxtaposition from the novel and in real life is when the creator of the surrogates’ name is Victor, but in reality it’s actually victoria. She chose to do this because she as not taken seriously as a woman. Maybe because they’re not viewed as smart as men? Or is it because they are viewed as weak? Whatever reason it may be, she decided to change her name to a manlier name. It just in a way proves that many believe that in order to be successful, you must be a man. A case like this that happened in real life was in S.E Hinton’s life. The author of a great book, “the outsiders” decided to change her name because probably many thought that a woman could not write a book about gangs the way she did. In order for her books to sell or get published for that matter, she had to change her name to make it seem like a man wrote it. Which isn’t fair because women can write a book just as good as a man, but because of gender role and the perception many have, it just makes it difficult for a woman to be taken serious at times.
      The gender roles that are found in the surrogates can be easily related to the gender roles that are in real life. Many have this view on how women should be or how a man should be. It was showed how Margret was seen as this woman who just loved beauty more than her husband and wasn’t happy because she wasn’t young. And Victoria becoming Victor just to be taken seriously. We see this in real life because how the media can sometimes portray women, as women who are more bout their beauty more than anything else, or women have to change their name in order for their book to be published. But it’s not only in the book industry that this happens. Many women will not be taken seriously in a job that is only male dominant because they are viewed as weak. Gender role is everywhere. Unfortunately, nothing can be done about it.


  1. Gender roles is not something we are born with (innate). They are put upon us, by forming the way we as girls are supposed to act in society. Or guys. When we are young and are told that this is not right, we grow up with those notions which keeps developing into adulthood. A great example was when that who decided they are not going to tell their son he is a boy and let him like what he wants and act like what he wants.

    1. I agree with you. If you go to a store and look at baby clothing you will see that pink is for girls and blue is for boys. Ever since we can remember we've even had segregation of sexes.

  2. I love your introduction, the way you wrote it drew my attention when I visited your blog. The topic about gender role is very broad and you made it seem like you are a specialist on it. With all your allusion you used made me strongly agree with your informative facts about gender role. I think that women are not the only gender who cares about their looks. I have a friend who would spend countless hours getting ready for class. I find that very ridiculous because the spent to prep up is not worth the time you are going to spend at school. I find that our image reflect our identity because it shows us what type a person we are. Even though people always say not to judge a person by their looks, we always do because we always look with our eyes and not with our other senses. Anyways, I enjoyed your essay a lot, nice job.

  3. Jocelyn,
    I have to agree with you in this essay. It does seem that in every movie there seems to be the same plot over and over again, the guy coming to rescue the girl. Starting at a young age both male and female are starting to see what roles fit into their gender. It becomes unfortunate that they grow up with a certain mindset of themselves due to this and the countless advertisement they will see as they grow. Now that you do mention about the whole shampoo thing, it’s surprising to see how many shampoos there are just for women compared to the just men. Though society mind perceive women as the ones who cant go out without having their hair and make up done and the men without looking at their best as well, makes one see how society has molded us to the people we are today, concerned with our outside.

  4. As soon as you mentioned S.E. Hinton, it dawned on me: you are bringing up gender roles in popular culture. George Eliot, born Mary Anne Evans, is another example of a famous female author using a man's name to publish books.

    I think what you need to do with this essay is focus on a specific culture where gender identity plays a major role. Here's what I mean. The Victor/Victoria dichotomy is a commentary that business culture prefers a male executive over a female one. Is this true and why? In popular culture, whether we are looking at movies, music, or books, we want a sexual female (maybe not always, but Gamer and Surrogates suggests that our we do). Or using your excellent example, we don't believe female authors have the same authority as male ones, so women assume a male identity.

    Here's an example from the teaching profession. Studies show male professors get better reviews (you know those reviews that you and your peers fill out near the end of the semester?) than female professors.

    I'm going to challenge you on your conclusion: "Many women will not be taken seriously in a job that is only male dominant because they are viewed as weak. Gender role is everywhere. Unfortunately, nothing can be done about it."

    Do you think nothing can be done about it? If so, why? What parts of our culture or society do we see women do very well? Explain your last point, because maybe the trend of male-dominant society is reversing.