In The Story of the Marquise-Marquis de Banneville, gender is shown as extremely malleable, but only within the gender binary, meaning the people of the time must be easily separated into men or women by presentation, regardless of biological sex. An example of the ease with which gender can change exists as Prince Sionad/Princess de Garden. According to the novel, the Prince “often takes pleasure in putting on the fair sex’s clothes” when he is not busy “fight[ing] in the war” (Perrault, De Choisy, & L 'Héritier 25), but he is still respected within the society. The act of wearing the feminine clothes “does not diminish his charm” (25). Yet, when the Marquis de Bercourt goes to the theatre wearing male-coded clothing and female-coded makeup and jewelry, the same person who suppo...
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...llow society-imposed gender roles and is demonized as a result.
Each of these novels depicts at least one main character that falls somewhere in-between the expectations society imposes on its members. Furthermore, if these characters are biologically female, the authors tend to dehumanize them, whether or not they are known as females in the novel. The same effect is not often seen on the male characters. This demonstrates that the views of the authors, and consequently their cotemporary culture, are that women who are not easily stereotyped are not worthy of being treated as people. The writers are using what they know, explicitly or implicitly, of their own society to compose these literary works. From this, it can be inferred that any woman who deviates from the norm in these real-world societies, will not be considered a person and will be treated accordingly.
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