Gender has typically been separating people since birth
Gender has typically been separating people since birth. New born girls would get pink blankets, and new born boys would get blue blankets, starting the difference among the two. The differences carry on during the course of life and many stereotypes develop. For example, women are anticipated to be thoughtful and gentle, and be orderly. Men, unlike women, are expected to be strong and tough and do all the dirty work and provide for the family.
In the short story “Girl” written by Jamaica Kincaid, Jamaica challenges the inequalities and the standards that women are stereotypically expected to be like. In the short story, the mother is instantly introduced in the story to create directions for her daughter in every decision she makes, providing advice to her daughter. The advice the daughter is receiving goes from beneficial and useful, to criticizing the daughters actions and behaviors. The advice that is being given to the daughter, for the most part is tips for being a good stay-at-home wife and how to take care of a house and how to keep it tidy. The mother also gave tips to the daughter along with taking care of the house, how to also take care of a future husband, or in the daughters current situation, her father. By the end of the story, the mother demanded the daughter to have learned and comprehend where a women’s place in society is, what her job is in her current house, what her job will be in her future house will be, and the risks and the dangers that come along with her sexuality. The way that the story is written in, helps Jamaica get across her message against gender inequalities.
In the story, the mother is speaking for the most part, and It contains only two lines where the daughter speaks. One of the lines the daughter said was defending herself, and the other line she was asking a question about one of the statements that her mother had said. The line where the daughter defends herself, which was the first time the daughter speaks, the mother says, “is it true that you sing benna in Sunday school?” (Kincaid 128) Benna being a Caribbean folk-music style. The daughter responded with “but I don’t sing benna on Sundays at all and never in Sunday school” (Kincaid 128). Benna being a type of music that the mother does not like and does not want her daughter signing it. Being that her mother doesn’t want the daughter signing it, benna, in the story could be a symbol for feminism. Benna being a symbol for feminism, the daughter is accepting it and the mother is afraid of it. The mother would rather stay with something she is comfortable with, not having her daughter sing benna and her accepting feminism. The mother is stuck in her old ways and is unwilling to change her views. The mother would rather keep her way of doing things and force her daughter to do things her way. When the mther first asked the daughter if she sing benna in Sunday school, it took the daughter almost four lines after the mother acquaisation, and the mother was not even talking abiut it anymore when the daughter finally answered. The hesiatation in the daughters response suggests that the girl was stuck thinking about it. Which means that the daughter might actually be singing benna on Sundays and in Sunday school.
Like “Girl”, in the short story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” by Joyce Carol Oates, the story has many parts that oppress women. The main character in the story, Connie, symbolizes women and how they are controlled by men in our society. The other main character in the story, Arnold, stands for men and how they feel and act towards other women and how they do not really care for women and think they can do whatever they want. The whole story is a picture of how women allow themselves be controlled by men.
Connie, at the beginning of the story only really cares about how she looks and picking up guys. June, Connie’s older sister, was more liked by their mother because she was always doing things around the house while Connie did not really do anything besides look pretty and went out with her friends. But Connie did not really believe their mother like June better the her. Connie actually believed that their mother liked her better because she was the better looking child. This shows that women are more valued for their looks than for their personalities.
Still in the beginning of the story, Connie and her best friend, got dropped off at a shopping center three miles out of town by the friends father. The two girls were supposed to go shopping or see a movie, but they ended up going across the street to a restaurant where older kids hung out. They went over to the restaurant sticctly to talk to older boys they thought were cute. The issue that Connie has, is her biggest concern in her life revolves around finding someone to be with. That issue goes for most women and it implies that too many women make finding someone to be with a main goal in their life, instead of focusing on themselves. Connie then met a guy named Eddie and she told her friend to go away so that she can sit in his car with him for awhile. Connie really does not care about guys personalities, as long as she thinks they are cute and heav a nice car, shes all for them. As the story goes on, as she looks back at the guys she met in the restaurant, Connie was thinking to herself “but all the boys fell back and dissolved into a single face that was not even a face that was not even a face, but an idea”(Oates 97). This shows that she desperately wants to be with a guy, it does not matter who it is. With that being said, going back, this signifies that most women just want to have a man who can provide for them and their future family. Rather than finding someone who they really click with. This goes back to the idea of the story that most women are soupposed to only want a husband and a family out of their lives and most of them feel liked they failed if they do not find someone to be with.
Later on in the story, Connie’s family went to a barbecue at an aunts house, which she decided not to go with them. While her family was gone, a car pulled up in front of her house. The driver was a guy named Arnold. Arnold saw Connie at the restaurant when she was there spending time with Eddie. He tried to get her to get into the car with him and his friend named Ellie. Arnold’s car had a sticker on the left rear fender that was smashed which said “done by a crazy woman driver”(Oates 99). This already is a sign that he does not respect women. Short after he tells Connie that she is his lover, and that she does not know it yet but she will. Arnold then goes on and says, “I’ll come inside you where it’s all secret and you’ll give into me and you’ll love me” (Oates 104) which shows that he really does not care for her, and all he sees her as is nothing more than something to be sexual with. Then right after that he syas to her that she might not like it at first, but by the time he is done she will love him. And this shows that most men just think that they can do whatever they want to do to women and that its their right, and the women have to deal with it.
Connie then goes back inside of the house to call the police, but he tells her that if she touches the phone he is going to go inside. Connie then asks Arnold what is going to happen if she goes with him, and he replies, “Just two things,, or maybe three. But I promise that it won’t last long” (Oates 106). This shows that most men only care about their own sexual pleasure and do not really care about satisfiying the woman. Connies eventually gives into him and follows him back outside to his car and this shows that some women do not care or are too scared and they willingly allow men to control their lives. What Connie is doing by going with Arnold may also show that some women think that if they give into mens sexual wants, that they will fall in love and that everything is going to be okay. The story “Where are you going, Where have you been?” is overall a picture of how most women let their lives, both sexually and just in general, be controlled by a man.