Essay on Sexism and Gender Roles

Essay on Sexism and Gender Roles

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Throughout history, sexism and gender roles in society has been a greatly debated topic. The Women’s Rights Movements, N.O.M.A.S. (The National Organization of Men Against Sexism), M.A.S.E.S. (Movement Against Sexual Exploitation and Sexism), and many other movements and groups have all worked against the appointment of gender roles and sexist beliefs. Many authors choose to make a controversial topic a central theme in their work of literature, and the theme of gender roles is no exception. “Phenomenal Woman” by Maya Angelou, “Diving into the Wreck” by Adrienne Rich, and “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman all address the gender roles that have been placed by society.
Maya Angelou was born shortly after the Women’s Rights Movement, and was a social activist as an adult. When Angelou began to write, she chose to write about subjects that had substance and meaning to other people, such as abuse, religion, occupation, racism, sexism, relationships, and other topics. One such poem is “Phenomenal Woman,” a poem on societies standards for what makes a woman physically attractive. At the beginning of her poem, she claims that other women wonder how she attracts men when she isn’t “cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size.” In this statement, Angelou is recognizing that the majority of society believes that it is favorable to be skinny, but she goes on to state that it is “the span of my hips,” “the swing in my waist,” “the grace of my style,” and “the need for my care,” that attracts men to her. In other words, Angelou is claiming that it isn’t her size that attracts men, but her womanliness, her grace, and her kindness. In her poem, Angelou stresses the importance of self-confidence and makes it very clear tha...


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...rcise and John dictates, keep the large house clean, and cook, as was expected of most women during this time period. The women that we see in this story are confined to the house, expected to do whatever the male figure of the home dictates. “The Yellow Wallpaper” shows a very patriarchal society in which the women are expected to do as the man says while he works outside of the home. The narrator’s lack of a name reinforces the notion that she is speaking as the voice of women collectively, rather than as an individual.




Works Cited

Gilman, Charlotte P. "The Yellow Wallpaper." Literature for Composition. New York: Longman, 2011. 746-56. Print. Ser. 2.
Rich, Adrienne. "Diving into the Wreck." Literature for Composition. New York: Longman, 2011.
667-69. Print. Ser. 2.
Angelou, Maya. Phenomenal Woman: Four Poems Celebrating Women. New York: Random
House, 1994.

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Essay on Sexism and Gender Roles

- Throughout history, sexism and gender roles in society has been a greatly debated topic. The Women’s Rights Movements, N.O.M.A.S. (The National Organization of Men Against Sexism), M.A.S.E.S. (Movement Against Sexual Exploitation and Sexism), and many other movements and groups have all worked against the appointment of gender roles and sexist beliefs. Many authors choose to make a controversial topic a central theme in their work of literature, and the theme of gender roles is no exception. “Phenomenal Woman” by Maya Angelou, “Diving into the Wreck” by Adrienne Rich, and “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman all address the gender roles that have been placed by society....   [tags: society, Maya Angelou, The Yellow Wallpaper]

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