Bernice Bobs Her Hair

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In the short story “Bernice Bobs Her Hair” by Scott Fitzgerald, Bernice is pressured to be like others and to conform to society’s changing morals. Peer pressure put on by her cousin, Marjorie, and from society causes Bernice to become insecure and unsure of herself. The stresses of peer pressure are the reason that Bernice trades her important moral choices for those of the ever changing society. This results in a further understanding of peer pressure as a negative and positive tool. Marjorie pressures Bernice to change the way she looks, acts, and talks so that she can become more “popular”. Consequentially, the peer pressure drives Bernice to bob her hair, an action that is not positively looked upon in the early 1920’s.
Peer pressure is the tool that Marjorie uses to change Bernice’s behavior to increase her popularity and can be seen as a positive force or a negative force. Peer pressure can be seen as a positive force because it gets Bernice out of her shell and allows her to become more confident in herself. Prior to the use of peer pressure, Bernice was seen as boring, “…Cousin Bernice was sorta dopeless. She was pretty, with dark hair and high color, but she was no fun on a party. ”(211). Although Bernice seems steadfast to her usual routine that includes talking about cars, weather and her hometown with boys, she sees that people treat Marjorie very differently than they treat her. It is obvious that Marjorie looks down upon the way Bernice acts and believes that Beatrice is boring, "You little nut ... all those ghastly inefficiencies that pass as feminine qualities.” She says this because some woman at this time, “were confused and frustrated by the conflict between traditional ideas on woman place, and the in...

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...tendencies from boring to almost explicit and unfiltered.
Marjorie also uses peer pressure to change the way Bernice looks at her self-image by getting Bernice to change her style from rural comfort to urban fashion which causes Bernice to become more charming even though she still has low self-esteem. In the beginning of the story Bernice has low self-esteem and Marjorie convinces Bernice that she needs to change the way she looks so that boys find her more attractive and charming. “…girls who were deemed pretty by societies social constructed standards were attractive to boys and had a much greater probability of being popular” (Adler,50). One of the things that Marjorie suggests for Beatrice to change is her eyebrows, “for instance, you never take care of your eyebrows. They're black and lustrous, but by leaving them straggly they're a blemish” (Negri,218).

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