Gender And Cultural Expectations, By Allen G. Johnson, An American Sociologist And Gender Studies Expert

Gender And Cultural Expectations, By Allen G. Johnson, An American Sociologist And Gender Studies Expert

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Gender and Cultural Expectations
Misogyny is not the result of the physical state of womanhood; it is the product of the conventions that a society has established for how a woman should compose herself (Rey). These societal rules were created with the intent of perpetuating a patriarchal system in which women cannot express themselves freely. Misogyny is an attempt at enforcing these rules, and misogynistic behaviors can be performed by anyone. While The Gender Knot discusses how the limitation of female sexual expression and the enforcement of gender roles are forms of misogyny, “Girl” and “Mona Lisa Smile” indicate how these practices affect women.
One of the most common methods that misogynists use to suppress female freedom is inhibition of female sexuality. Allen G. Johnson, an American sociologist and gender studies expert, notes that “It is women, not men, . . . who feel compelled to deny their inherent juiciness lest they be accused of being bitches or sluts” (60). Because modern Western societies condemn a woman’s sexuality, many women choose to hide that aspect of their nature. A society that is prejudiced against women will not only judge a woman for expressing her sexuality, but they will also limit her access to birth control. Women conceal their inherent sexual nature by covering their skin; monitoring their speech; controlling their body language; and censoring their facial expressions. When women have to suppress their sexual nature but men do not, they are forced to assume a lesser position in society. These actions sustain a male-dominated culture.
In the short story “Girl,” an older female charged with teaching a young girl how to be a woman inhibits the child’s sexuality by repeatedly accusing the girl of ...

... middle of paper ... a woman is meant to do. The entire publication is a direct attack on Watson’s gender identity, being that it suggests that she is not feminine enough. Warren hopes that with this publication, Watson will quiet her voice. This is her way of maintaining the patriarchal elements of their society.
Ultimately, The Gender Knot provides explanations regarding misogynistic practices, and the protagonists of “Girl” and “Mona Lisa Smile” demonstrate how damaging these practices are. The caustic effects of the limitation of female sexuality are observed in the multitude of rules for women in “Girl,” and in the prohibition of birth control in “Mona Lisa Smile.” These two works also provide insights into the ways that gender roles constrict the lives of women. Through Johnson’s theories, one can come to a better understanding of why women routinely face such ill treatment.

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