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Distortion of the Female Image Essay

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The modernist period is characterized by society’s attempt to break traditional norms through forms of art. An issue evident during the modernist period, and even still today, is the denigration of the female image. While women thrive to prove their potential, they continue to be portrayed as powerless. As a patriarchal society, this norm fails to be altered and continues to be present. Although there was an increase in women’s literacy at the time, some did not believe in the idea of gender equality. Though gender debates were new to modernists and early contemporary artists, Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, Frida Kahlo’s The Broken Column, and The Beatles’ Run For Your Life fail to break the traditional norm. Instead, they contribute to the struggles of womanhood, portraying them as powerlessness beings.
Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary focuses on the idea that women are weak and have no control over their lives. Flaubert presents Emma Bovary as a naïve and sheltered woman due to her obsession with fairytale love stories. As a young girl, Emma dreamt of having a life filled with happiness and love. She is portrayed as uneducated and childish because she is infatuated with the idea of romance that was emphasized in novels that she grew up reading. Once she marries Charles, Emma becomes bored with her life because her marriage was nothing compared to what she expected. After attending an extravagant ball and experiencing a luxurious exciting night, Emma becomes depressed with her lifestyle because she wishes to relive that night for the rest of her life. Emma becomes pregnant, hoping to have a boy, because she does not want her daughter to be born into this society where women are just constantly put down. Emma feels trapped i...


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...nferior to women is a timeless issue that we have all experienced and witnessed. We are all connected through the norms of society. Just like I said earlier, our society was brought up revolving around the idea that men have authority over a social organization. No matter what culture, religion, race, or gender, society has forced us to experience the issues of gender. This traditional norm is definitely a hard issue to solve due to our society’s reliance on that system. If this issue was evident decades ago and continues to flourish, there’s no telling when we can solve this. Although our perception of the female image has changed compared to time of the modernists and The Beatles, it continues to affect us and probably will for a long time. We are all connected through the issues society places on us because we are all affected and influenced by society’s norms.



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