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FIQWS 10108, HA17
20 November 2017
Women, Inferior to Men?
Gender roles have often been a conventional way for various countries to express their ideas and culture. This has been helpful in providing a basis for outside citizens to understand the dynamics of the given country. Women especially, are continually held to specific standards to which they have to adhere and follow as a traditional woman of that specific region. Sandra Cisneros portrays the values and treatment women are exposed to in Latin America through the use of her novel, "The House on Mango Street". However, she only reflects on one side but women all around the world, in different countries possess distinctive roles and are held at different values in comparison to their opposing gender. Though many individuals might disagree, women are typically downgraded by men and are often seen as inferior.
Esperanza, the protagonist of Cisneros's novel, is bared to the typical gender norms that everyone seems to follow. Women are often seen as individuals who are to stay at home and care for the children. Unlike the men, who are able to obtain jobs and run the family financially. This is Cisneros's portrayal of the gender roles that occur in Latin America. Esperanza at one point conveys, "The boys and the girls in separate worlds. The boys in their universe and we in ours" (Cisneros 8). This quote tends to symbolize a deeper meaning, in which Cisneros is trying to bring light to the division that is often created amongst the two genders. She is a strong, resilient girl who is guided by the women in her life. Those women, however are often demeaned by men due to feelings of superiority. Sally, another individual in the novel, is described as a very beautiful young girl but her father, the one male figure in her life neglects that beauty. He believes it is dangerous and often punishes her for it. In the Latin American society, Esperanza resides in, women are not subjected in talking to the boys or men in the town. This is due to a barrier they believe should exist amongst the two genders. Men are portrayed as the strong, dominant figures in society which somehow gives them power over the women. Cisneros' represents this power by showing the abuse that occurs in Sally's rough life. "He never hits me hard. She said her mama rubs lard on all the places where it hurts. Then at school she'd say she fell. That's where all the blue places come from. That's why her skin is always scarred…He thinks I'm going to run away like his sisters who made the family ashamed. Just because I'm a daughter, and then she doesn't say" (Cisneros 92). In other words, Sally is constantly abused by her father who wants to repress her beauty. He possesses a sense of authority over her because she's a woman and he's a man and that gives him a right to inflict that kind of pain on her for some reason. He does not care for the fact that she is his daughter, he only cares for the power he has over her. Sally is treated like an animal because the gender standards for women in that specific society expresses them to be inferior to the male figures in their life. Yet, these portrayals of gender roles are only subjective to the Latin American countries.
Representation of gender roles is obtainable in many countries, all focusing on the role of women mainly. Though the countries might have different political views and economical views, many tend to hold the same standards for the female population. In the country of Pakistan, women typically hold no value or opinion. They are nothing but machines that are designed to care and breed children. Devotion to their husbands and no other man is what is expected of them. They possess no rights, no voice, nothing at all. An article, "Islam Supports Gender Inequality", reflects light upon how woman have such great restrictions placed upon themselves even when going outside the house. The article states, "She should put on old clothes and take deserted streets and alleys, avoid markets, and make sure
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