Gender Boundaries in Pleasantville and 1984

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Gender boundaries are established in 1984 through sexual repression, which is shown through costume. The restrictions placed on the party members in 1984 include every party member (both male and female) have to wear ‘ugly’ overalls. This plays its part in undefined gender roles. This boundary is broken in a number of ways. First of which is when Winston has sex with the prole prostitute, another is when Winston and Julia use Mr Clarington’s shop as a place for having sex, (this is broken even more as it is in the prole district). It is also broken when Julia puts on make-up which is seen as a luxury. Pleasantville explores gender boundaries are established through single beds, no colour, no sex, and lack of knowledge. Make up also plays an important role in breaking boundaries in Pleasantville as it did in 1984, when Betty puts on make up to cover the fact that she has turned into a ‘coloured’ person. Bud and Mary-Sue are agents for change in Pleasantville ad bud educated Mr Johnson and the rest of the Pleasantville population by filling in the books, putting out the fire, showing them colour. Mary-sue educated betty by teaching her what sex is. Repeated scenes in Pleasantville ensure that there is no change in their world, such as George walking home every afternoon, putting his briefcase down, and saying ‘honey, I’m home’. This is broken when he gets no reply from his wife, as Betty is out with Mr Johnson.
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