Boys and Girls: a Depiction of Gender Differences

Topics: Gender, Gender role, Woman Pages: 4 (1499 words) Published: May 28, 2012
Boys and Girls: A depiction of gender differences

Gender is a social construction that is evident in almost every culture. The struggle for equality between male and female has been perpetuating for decades and yet no change has occurred because of the rigid social construction of gendered roles. In “Boys and Girls”, in the backdrop of a countryside in 1950s, Alice Munro depicts the hardships and successes of the rite of passage into adulthood through her portrayal of a young female who goes through the process of growing up. She presents the subject of the profound unfairness of sex-role stereotyping, and the effect this has on the rites of passage into adulthood through the narrator’s attempts to resist to womanhood. The patriarchal society considers women inferior to men by their supposed incompetence, demeaning work, and by their inherent belief that men are superior that their counterparts. Women are not really inferior to men due to their innate values. Therefore, it is not right to say that in “Boys and Girls” Alice Munro wants us to view female human beings as inferior to males.

Women’s work at home is considered unimportant, but men’s work outside home is usually regarded with greater respect in the society since they are the breadwinners. Even if women work as hard as men, their work will still be considered as demeaning and less valuable: “It seemed to me that work in the house was endless, dreary and peculiarly depressing; work done out of doors, in my father’s service was ritualistically important” (495). When narrator was a young she already realized the value and importance of her father’s work. Her father’s work interests her more than her mother’s as she realizes that her mother’s work is not as honorable as her father’s. Her eagerness to work with her father shows that she does not want to lead a boring life like her mother and wants to be the winning side.

In contrast to her desires, the story points out that society consider girls...
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