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psychology of women

By Lilattie-Ghamandi Dec 05, 2014 928 Words
Lilattie Ghamandi
Psychology of women paper
12/4/14
Learned Performances taught by Social Norms and Reinforcements

The novel that I choose to analyzed is “there and now” by Linda Lael Miller. It is a fictional romance novel that could be considered a traditional romance novel, in that it embodies many gendered stereotypes that are frequently associated but males and females. One of the reasons why this particular genre (romance) was picked was because romance novels is often one of the most read genre among young girls and women, therefore one can conclude that romance novels are influential in the development on gendered stereotypes. Now and There plays many of these gendered stereotypes both for men and woman, such as a man must be masculine and a woman feminine. These differences of males and females are very deeply engrained into our lives, “we were taught that women are more emotional, more in need of security, love and attention, more interested in family than in individual successes, and in generally we were taught that women are people whose self esteem are wrapped up in relationships and in doing for others. Men were taught to be more explicitly individualistic, more aggressive, more independent, and people who self esteem were based on social successes and being effective leaders”1. These testaments of masculinity must be proven by men in scenarios such as taking care of a woman, being strong physically and mentally, having money, being dominant and asserting control. While as a woman much be feminine in order to prove her femininity and woman hood, she must be strong and not so strong that she is stronger than the men in her lives, she must be smart but not too smart, she must be soft spoken and docile. She must be the ideal woman, beautiful, a house wife, in the idea that she must be able to cook and care for a man and children if they are present before she thinks about herself, to put it clearly a woman must be a care giver and selfless while as a man must he strong and a provider. In Miller novel many of these stereotypes are mentioned, which will be discussed in more detailed later, however before moving on it is important to have a brief overview of the novel to better understand the gendered boundaries mentioned and how the characters reinforces generalized stereotypes onto young girls and young boys in our current American society.

Now and There starts off with a strong female character Elisabeth McCartney, who is a empowered woman, with a very successful career, she has a good life with a home and is financially stable, but like all gendered successful women they have to be unhappy and lonely. Elizabeth is a lonely woman and she regrets having chosen to peruse a career instead to marrying and having a family with great kids and a husband, like all her friends. Instead she is alone working and she is exhausted. In her workplace one of her coworker, Jonathan Frontier is deemed as the ultimate man he is strong, mainly, and he is single and happy. Why is it that he is happy even though he has the same career as our female character, why is not being single and successful a prideful things for our female lead when it is for our male lead. Well it is because females are supposed to and are taught to strive towards marriage and everything they do must revolve in attaining a man and marrying him. While as for males this ideology is not taught, males are thought to be adventurous and to be single. In addition females are taught that they cannot outstand the males in their lives for any reason, for it would threaten the gendered division.2

One interesting thing that is often mentioned in novels of this type is the powers of manhood and how the females relish in this show of masculinity. Elizabeth our heroine does this many times, both in situations where she is portrays to be helpless and in times of intimacy. There are instances in the novel where Elizabeth is portrayed as someone in total distress and is incapable of sorting her distress out herself, the situation only gets resolved when the hero sets in and helps her, saves her from this predicament in which she was helpless, for instance during a meeting at her job our lead got into a argument with a coworker, a friend that was getting out of hand, and as the argument escalated so did out heroines distress and her capability to handle the situation, the argument is only resolved when out hero steps in and immodestly fixes the problem by offering a solution and saving our heroine3 (p98).

It is important to empower our girls that same way we empower our boys, meaning that we teach boys to be strong, adventurous, sexually progressive while we don’t teach girls these ways of being, girls are taught to live in modesty and in service to domesticity. Romance novels are classic reads, but in addition to being enjoyable reading it also sends a message to the readers in the was we should as females act and how we are view. These novels are often, the majority stereotyped with limited gendered variety. These stereotypes often than most other reading portrays women as weak, frail and in need of rescue. When this is not done women are portrayed to be strong buy unhappy and will only find happiness and fulfillments in a man, in attaining and keeping a man.

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