Popular fairy tale “Beauty and the Beast” explores different gender roles in its various versions. A gender role is a set of social and behavioral norms that are generally considered appropriate for either a man or a woman in a social or interpersonal relationship. Maria Tartar, Professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures at Harvard University argues that this well-known tale has been written primarily to state that it is indeed ‘Beauty’ who reforms the ‘Beast’ while British novelist Marina Warner argues against this claim and states that it is ‘Beast’ who brings out the wild side in ‘Beauty’. Contrary to the conventional claim of the man saving the woman or specifically the damsel in distress, much like Tartar, I too believe that this fairy tale has the stereotype reversed where the woman saves the man by civilizing him. Analyzing the gender roles of ‘Beauty’ and ‘Beast’ in Madame de Beaumont’s fairytale entitled “Beauty and the Beast” illustrates why I view women as the civilizing agent in their relationship with men.
Ibsen shows in the play that Hedda wants to be the powerful person in the family and lead a man’s life of power. Ibsen deals with the issue that women have very little freedom in this time and demonstrates how Hedda would like to have power and some freedom like men do. This is shown continually in a variety of ways. The first is how Hedda talks about, but with circumlocution, about sex and intimate ideas that were not to be talked about openly on a stage. This is shown when Hedda and Judge Brack talk in the living room about how Judge Brack could have turned up earlier but he would have found Hedda up in her room dressing.
Firstly, whether a family live in a symmetrical family or not will have an effect on the divisions of labour. March of Progress theorists (Liberal Feminists) such as Young and Willmott argue that family life is gradually improving for all its members, becoming more equal and democratic. For example, women now go out to work, just as men now help with housework and childcare. However Radical Feminists reject the ‘March of Progress’ theory, and argue that women remain unequal within the family. Anne Oakley argues that we still live in a patriarchal (male dominated) society, and therefore women occupy a subordinate and dependant role within the family and wider society.
Overall it could therefore be argued that rather than partners becoming more equal, women now have to carry a ‘dual burden’, whereby she is responsible for two jobs of unpaid or paid labour. Factors such as patriarchy and conforming to a gender script will lead to these divisions. Secondly, it could be argued that the money management within a family has an effect on the power relations between couples. Edgell argues that the reason why men are likely to take the decisions is because they earn more; women usually earn less than their husbands, and as a result of being dependant on them, have less say in the decision making. Similarly, Michelle Barrett and Mary McIntosh additionally argue that men usually make the decisions about spending on important items.
In James Poniewozik’s 2004 Time article The Princess Paradox, he elucidates how the Hollywood movie industry had found a way to manipulate an big chunk of the American nation through the idea of feminism. Hollywood has changed the original concepts of the original fairytales by retelling their stories in a more modernized and female-friendly way. This change is aimed especially at the parents of young girls who are consistent in pushing the idea of independence into their child’s minds. The Princess Diaries is a spin-off of the classic fairytale Cinderella; however in this modernized version, the female lead Diana has no desire at first to be a princess. She is given the chance to experience the life of a princess and then is given the choice to choose whether or not she wants to take over the throne.
Functionalist Murdock suggested as children we are socialised into societies shared norms and values and he believed that males provide the economic roles and females provided the expressive role. Therefore it is natural for women to play the expressive role in the household looking after the family’s emotional needs. However, radical feminist Ann Oakley argues that the role of the housewife is a social construction and isn’t linked to the female role. The housewife role makes sure that women stay inferior to men making it difficult for them have careers. Women carry out the triple burden in the household; the domestic labour, emotional labour, and paid labour.
What is love? People say that you cannot judge a book by its cover, if so, then why did Wang Lung felt guilty for not loving O-lan? The perceptions of a man by cataloging a woman are in very high standards, depending on the class of the male. It would be irrational to think that a man wants a woman to betrothed with, only because his desire is someone to do his household tasks and to bear him descendants. Bound feet are another fine example of how women must suffer anguish since the moment of development and growth to serve a man’s view as cultural and racial believes.
They believe the number of symmetrical families is rising, with women going out to work and men helping with housework and childcare with the couple having joint conjugal roles. Also, Gershuny found that the more work women do, the less time they spend on housework, which suggests that tasks are being spread equally. Feminist sociologists believe there has been no improvement. They believe the division of labour is unnatural and is only to benefit men, with women carrying a ‘dual-burden’ of having to work full or part-time as well as take on the duties that are commonly
They say that family is vital for 4 things in society: the regulation of sexual activity, reproducing and raising children, educating or socialising society’s way of life to the younger members and being an economic unit with clear divisions of labour between genders. With the decline in the nuclear family, they will believe that these four functions will diminish and society will not function in an adequate way. Where liberal feminists would not be happy about the decline in nuclear families as they believe that increasing equality exists between men and women, radical and Marxist feminists would think that it is a good thing. Radical feminists argue that men benefit much greater than women within the family environment. They say that gender roles which are allocated within a family are accepted by the women, which then goes on to disadvantage them in later life when it comes to things such as employment.
They are seen as being more connected to children. Therefore, society often confines women to a domestic familial role, freeing up the men to pursue more “cultural” endeavors like art or religion. Children themselves are viewed as primitive humans, not yet civilized by the affects of culture. As women are the ones who raise children, transforming them into sophisticated adults, Ortner contends that women are thus seen as only an intermediary between nature and culture. Psychologically, women are more emotional and sentimental than men, making men more inclined to more abstract, “cultures” thought, while women’s thoughts tend to be more connected to other people.