For this blog post, I’m making a change in how I research my inquiry question: “How do gender roles and discrimination affect our society?” Instead of looking at how they affect a specific social group or part of our society, like I did for the last two rounds of research, I will be researching how they affect literature. I really enjoy reading, so I’m very curious about this topic!
How gender roles dictate what each gender is expected to write about:
According to author Zainab, there are implicit gender roles in literature. For example, women are supposed to write about “sentimental and romantic” topics, and men to write “fiction, adventure or fantasy.” Women who cross this line end up being “considered” audacious. She also thinks that there’s a stereotype that women should write “easy read. (1)” This clearly relates to other gender stereotypes I’ve talked about in other blogs. For example, the feminine stereotype is usually related to politeness and nurturing, and the masculine one to “aggressiveness and strongness. (3) ”
Women in literature also suffer discrimination in their field. In fact, studies show that female writers are still “being overlooked,” and not as recognised as male writers in many cases. For example, men are more likely than women to have their work presented in “published reviews” and to “win awards. ” In addition, literature written by women is less likely to be included on “course syllabuses at both high school” and post-secondary. That is, many people still consider women’s contribution to literature less culturally significant (2)
Because of this, many women have had to change “their identities” or make their names sound ambiguous (not easily distinguished as a female name) to receive recognition or to catch the reader’s attention. The most famous example of this is Harry Potter’s author, Joanne Rowling. Her publisher told her at the beginning of her career to use her initials because “potential readers might want to “read fantasy books written by women. (1)”
Amalia, Shafira. “Gender Biases in Literature.” Magdalene, 5 Aug. 2022, magdalene.co/story/gender-biases-in-literature-jilf-2019. Accessed 10 Jan. 2023.
Dempster, Lisa. “If You Doubted There Was Gender Bias in Literature, This Study Proves You Wrong.” Books | the Guardian, The Guardian, 20 Sept. 2017, amp.theguardian.com/books/2016/jun/10/if-you-doubted-there-was-gender-bias-in-literature-this-study-proves-you-wrong. Accessed 10 Jan. 2023.
Planned Parenthood. “Gender Identity and Roles | Feminine Traits & Stereotypes.” Planned Parenthood, www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/gender-identity/sex-gender-identity/what-are-gender-roles-and-stereotypes. Accessed 11 Jan. 2023.