Their Eyes Were Watching God By Zora Neale Hurston

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Gender inequality has been a major issue for many centuries now. Societies insist in assigning males and females to different roles in life. The traditional stereotypes and norms for how a male and female should present themselves to the world have not changed much over time. But individuals are more than just their gender and should have the right to act and be treated the way they want. The novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston illustrates the discrimination against women and the issues that arise from a gender double standard society.
Unfortunately, gender discrimination starts as early as birth and becomes more evident with time. Men are expected to be independent, competitive, dominant, confident and even aggressive.
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With Tea Cake, Janie was freer of playing both gender roles. She had the money from Joe so she didn’t need him financially but she did need him emotionally. She was finally in love. He made her feel valuable, gave her love and security. He treats her equal to him, something that her other husbands didn’t do. First thing he does is teach her to play checkers because he believes in her intelligence and that makes her feel valuable. “He set it up [checkers] and began to show her and she found herself glowing inside. Somebody wanted her to play. Somebody thought it natural for her to play. That was even nice.” (Hurston 95-96¬) Tea Cake shows his pride and strong masculinity for providing financially for his women when the tells Janie to “put dat two hundred back wid de rest, Janie. Mah dice. Ah no need no assistance tuh help me feed mah woman. From now on, you gointuh eat whatever mah money can buy uh and wear de same. When Ah ain’t got nothin’ you don’t git nothin’” (Hurston 128). Tea Cakes breaks the gender boundaries when he ask Janie to work on the field with him and he “would help get supper afterwards” (Hurston 133). This marriage is different because they become a team rather doing the work based on their gender roles. Although Tea Cake seem like the perfect husband for Janie, he took the abusive trait from Joe of showing that he was Janie’s owner: When Mrs. Turner’s brother came and she brought him over to be introduced, Tea Cake had a brainstorm. Before the week was over he had whipped Janie. Not because her behavior justified his jealousy, but it relieved that awful fear inside him. Being able to whip her reassured him in possession. No brutal beating at all. He just slapped her around a bit to show he was boss (Hurston
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