Sexism and Gender Roles Essay examples

976 Words 4 Pages
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 …show more content…
She ends every stanza with “Phenomenal Woman, That’s Me,” singing out her inner self and her joy in her physique without ever claiming that she is better than anyone else. Angelou refused to allow societies standards for women to dictate whether or not she was beautiful and stressed the importance of self expression. The poem “Phenomenal Woman” shows that Angelou believes that beauty lies in having a successful personality, not in having the the body type that society believes is most appealing for a woman. Another work of literature that addresses gender roles is “Diving into the Wreck” by Adrienne Rich. The story of the poem is rather simple the speaker is telling about their experience of going scuba diving and visiting the sight of a sunken ship wreck. Although the theme quickly flashes by, the theme of gender is mentioned in stanza 8, line 7 when the speaker states, “I am she: I am he,” referring to themselves as both a man and a woman. Although it’s rather common for the reader to not know the gender of the speaker in a poem, it’s rather unusual for a poet to directly confront the reader with that issue. Although the line is short and simple, it is a large turning point in the poem. As readers, we will often view a character's action differently depending on the gender of the character. When we don’t know the gender of a character it forces us to give up our assumptions about who he or she might be and what they are

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