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In the 1930's it was expected for both genders to follow their given gender roles. Boys and men were supposed to be tough, brave, independent and non emotional. Girls and women were supposed to be delicate, innocent, dependent and submissive. Scout felt comfortable looking and acting more like a boy than a girl and her Aunt Alexandra wasn't impressed with that. Scouts brother Jem even said, "It's time you started bein' a girl and acting right!" (115)
Aunt Alexandra told Scout that she needed to act more like a lady and she had to stop doing the same activities as the boys. She got Scout to get into a dress which most other socialized girls her age wouldn't have minded but because that was who she truly was, she couldn't stand it. Scout says, "I felt the starched walls of a pink cotton penitentiary closing in on me, and for the second time in my life I thought about running away. Immediately" (155).
It is sad to think that Scout may have run away because she was being forced by her family and society to be and act like someone she wasn't. In the 1930's girls were socialized into believing they were worth less than men and that they were only good for being mothers and wives. Most women were kept housewives because society told them they were allowed to be equal in rights with men.
Society today is slowly getting better equalizing both genders with allowing both genders to have the same opportunities as each other. This is an ideal family where the child feels accepted for who they truly are. Sarah is a young girl around the same age as Scout who feels herself when she wears what society would call boys clothing. She is happy because her family has accepted her and never made her dress differently.
When a person doesn't feel accepted by their family or society it can make it much harder for the person to thrive and feel comfortable within themselves. Children especially need acceptance from their family members and peers to grow up believing in themselves.
This looks like an ordinary scene of a child playing with a cat in their front yard but the problem is that even though society is slowing progressing, a lot of children like Sarah don't feel completely accepted by others around them. They feel like they have to hide their true selves from the world, in fear of judgement. This is what needs to change because both genders, male and female deserve to be accepted by everyone, no matter how they present themselves.
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