Gender Stereotypes

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“Modern science has freed people’s consciousness from many myths, having shown them to be illusory and politically partisan. For instance, no one would now dare to claim that one race or nationality is superior to another, that a particular religion is the only true one, or that a certain political system is the only possible one. However, a number of stereotypes remain unchanged” (Kliuchko 16). These stereotypes are generalizations about gender attributes and the role of an individual, which authors use to describe and evaluate the behaviors of their characters. I’ll be comparing and contrasting gender stereotypes in “a sorrowful woman” by Gayle Godwin and “Separating” by John Updike. The division of labor according to gender leads to stereotypes that rationalize the division of labor. For example, because women disproportionately occupy roles that require nurturing behavior, people come to see women as a group as more nurturing. Men’s overrepresentation in positions of status and power leads to stereotypes of men as independent and agentic. Importantly, the consequences of gender stereotypes are not limited to the perception of others (Ryan et al 2004).

Men and women often avoid task on which they might fail, and perceive themselves as less competent on many kinds of tasks. In a sorrowful woman the mother isn’t comfortable with her role as a wife/mother. Gayle Godwin’s uses a fairy tale stereotype to reflect the mother’s attributes. The mother feels she will fail the family and tries detaching herself from them. Most Fairy tale don’t start or end like this story but she makes a valid point that fairy tales don’t always come true. Likewise, In Separating Richard and Joan’s marriage is ruined because neither of them wants the task of having a family. Both thought differently and neither was happy with their life at their age.

Both authors use reverse gender attributes which convey into stereotypes. Both A sorrowful woman and separating have reverse...
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