SOCI 1125: Gender Inequality
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Sex is defined as a biological standard to determine the differences between a male and female. A gender, on the other hand, is determined by social and cultural standards. (Walsh, F., 2016) A basic example is Scout's classification as a female, or girl, and Jem's/Atticus' classification as a male, or boy/man.
Sex and Gender
Being associated with being either a girl or boy correlates to being either feminine or masculine, respectively. Being feminine means to be reserved while masculinity means being outgoing and fearless (Walsh, F., 2016) In the novel on page 53, Jem thinks Scout is too feminine when she was afraid to enter the Radley residence and says, "I declare to the Lord you’re gettin’ more like a girl every day!" (Harper, L. 1960)
Feminine Vs. Masculine
To Kill a Mockingbird Ex. 1
Even at home, Scout is exposed to gender stereotypes, both by Aunt Alexandra and Calpurnia. On page 84, Aunt Alexandra was "fanatical on the subject of my attire. I could not possibly hope to be a lady if I wore breeches" as told by Scout. On page 117, Calpurnia emphasized that "Mister Jem is growin'up" and told Scout that, "you just come right on in the kitchen whe you feel lonesome. We'll find lots of things to do in here." (Lee, H., 1960). This reiterated the stereotype of boys will be boys and girls should be in the kitchen.
To Kill a Mockingbird Ex. 2
Functionalist Perspective on Gender Inequality
On page 225, even Atticus said that women can't be on a jury. He said, "I guess it's to protect our frail leadies from sordid cases like Tom's. Besides, I doubt if we'd ever get a complete case tried - the ladies'd be interrupting to ask questions." (Lee, H., 1960) Even Scout and Jem laughed at this statement and showed how women are not as valued as men in formal settings such as court and how gender inequality was very prominent.
Sexuality is defined as a central aspect of being human and our sexual preferences. An example of this is between Mayella Ewell and Tom Robinson. Mayella grew up in a family where she could have no friends or love, so she became desperate and tried to "seduce a black man." (Harper, L., 1960) This shows Mayella's sexuality coming through but during the 1930's, this was not seen as appropriate and was actually beaten by her own father for this action.
Talcott Parsons' functionalist perspective justified gender inequality. This idea suggested that according to "biological factors", males and females have assigned roles in society. (Walsh, F., 2016) An example would be like Aunt Alexandra and Calpurnia are in charge of the children and the household while Atticus is the breadwinner of the home. Nowadays, it is possible for the roles to reverse or even to have both roles, but back then it was not ideal.
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