Femininity or properties characteristic of the female sex are the following: beauty, grace, talkativeness, mercy, forgiveness, patience, faithfulness and care for the family. Although these defining qualities of the female sex may also define the male sex, it is the female that is typically expected to be more beautiful, graceful, talkative, merciful, forgiving, patient, faithful, and caring than the male. Likewise, women may have strong, athletic bodies or great intelligence typically expected of males. Even so, the woman is usually defined with the above mentioned characteristics, that is, beauty, grace, etc.
in books, films, and advertisements, whereas strong, athletic bodies and great intelligence are typically seen as male characteristics. The books that common people have referred to through the ages have consisted of sacred scriptures, while films and advertisements are relatively new in our world. Regardless of whether the holy scriptures are misinterpreted by common folk, it is a fact that most families around the world would like their women to be taught that the above mentioned properties are best applied to them.
When families teach both males and females that the above mentioned definition of femininity is real – regardless of whether families have learned about these characteristics from sacred scriptures or television – these characteristics of the female sex are applied to all females in society. Thus, stereotypes become reality. Even the women with strong, athletic bodies or great intelligence are judged on the basis of these characteristics. As a matter of fact, I believe that the above mentioned definition of femininity is true because of stereotyping alone.
If I did not have to think about the defining characteristics of females versus those of males, however, I would focus on the word, ‘androgyny’ instead. What is more, I believe that everyone is androgynous before family and/or society teaches separate roles and ways of behaving to males and females. Indeed, society teaches women that they must guard their beauty, just as the remaining stereotypical characteristics of the female sex are expected of females.
Children Now, an organization that is concerned about learning imparted to children, has reported that 38% of females in the media – that the children are exposed to – happen to be scantily clad; 23% bare their cleavage or breasts; 31% expose their thighs; another 31% expose their midriffs or stomachs;, while 15% bare their buttocks (“Media Stereotyping”). Hence, the media is teaching children that women must be considered as sex objects. Another defining characteristic of the female sex – according to my definition of femininity – is talkativeness.
The communication between men and women is cross-cultural, according to the different cultures theory (Thorne). In the light of personal experience, I must agree with this view. Communication between men is generally straight-forward, while gossip is a term especially associated with women. Men’s talk is to-the-point, as they generally use communication to get things done, e. g. car repairs or plumbing jobs at home. Perhaps it is because they are typically believed to be the bread-winners who must get things done.
Women, on the contrary, are believed to have a great deal of time on their hands to talk about people. Typically understood to be the ones who must keep their ties strong by nurturing their husbands and children at home – housewives appear to love communicating about people and their relationships. College girls are the same. Although it is clear to me that men and women belong to different cultures as far as their communication is concerned, I agree with Thorne that the differences between the communication styles of men and women are dependent on “social contexts.
” Men and women do not belong to separate cultures in terms of communication at all times. So, while women seem to love gossiping, they are not expected to gossip with all people and in every situation. Furthermore, there are females who talk as straight-forwardly and to-the-point as males. One of my female friends in college talks only when she must get things done, e. g. asking for class notes. Similarly, men whose talk is to-the-point most of the time may find themselves chatting on for hours on end about themselves and their relationships, when and if the situation asks for it.
Men’s communication is generally understood to be unemotional. Even so, a single father may express his emotions fully with his little children. All the same, the properties characteristic of the female sex, as described in this paper thus far, do not seem to have changed through history. Published in the nineteenth century, Kate Chopin’s “The Storm,” is a short story about adultery, focused on a housewife by the name of Calixta, who is expected to undertake household chores as the principal goal of her everyday life. The woman had had a flirtation with Alcee years before the story took place.
Chopin informs the reader about the current situation between Calixta and Alcee: “She had not seen him very often since her marriage, and never alone” – certainly for the reason that the woman was not expected to see a man who was not her husband very often, and by herself. The woman has suppressed emotions and passions for Alcee, who too is married to another. The fact that she has suppressed emotions is revealed by her unspoken permission granted to Alcee to have a sexual encounter with her. She does not resist the encounter.
However, being a man, Alcee is the one who begins to touch the woman as a way to start the sexual encounter. The woman responds with “generous abundance of her passion (Chopin). ” At the same time, Calixta’s husband is at the general store where he probably went to fetch viands for the household and has been stopped by the storm (Chopin). As mandated by her gender role, it is perfectly normal for Calixta, a housewife, to be engrossed in housework while her husband is out. She is sewing a cotton sheet and involved in other household tasks when the storm arrives. She is airing out her husband, Bobinot’s Sunday clothing on the porch.
Her husband is visiting the general store with their son, Bibi, because he is expected to purchase goods for the household, being the man of the family and the breadwinner who must keep account of the household purchases and buy only that which his family truly needs. If Calixta had gone to the general store instead, perhaps she would have spent indiscriminately and unwisely. Thus, men and women have different roles to play in “The Storm. ” When Alcee arrives at Calixta’s doorstep to seek shelter from the storm, it appears as though the woman had been sleeping through her housework.
Chopin writes: “His voice and her own startled her as if from a trance…. ” What is more, the woman has been so focused on her housework that she begins talking excitedly about her work at first. She also talks about preparing her house for the storm. It is her responsibility, after all, to stay in charge of the entire household while the man of the house is away. Hence, she has to gather up the cotton sheet she had been sewing before the arrival of Alcee (Chopin). In the nineteenth century, women were expected to be especially obedient and faithful to men.
But even if Chopin had written “The Storm” in the twenty first century – following a new age of feminism that gained ground through the latter part of the twentieth century – Calixta would have been expected to perform house chores with perfection. Even though sexism or liberation of women were probably discussed as often as racism or equality during the twentieth century; and more women than ever before are nowadays working outside the home; females continue to carry their defining characteristics – as provided in this paper. What is more, these defining characteristics seem to be ingrained in our psyches by now.
Hence, women in the workplace must continuously be bombarded with messages conveying their stereotypical images back into their own psyches. In Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon, published in the twenty first century, Sam Spade is the personification of the American private eye. He is a white, tough guy involved with many individuals searching for a black statue. The hero of Hammett’s novel meets with Miss Wonderly – wonderful in every way – when she appears in his office to request him to tail a man named Floyd Thursby. Miss Wonderly is undoubtedly a beautiful woman.
Here, the beautiful woman is a stereotypical description of a lady who must meet with a macho male that can be hard and cruel – all for an apparently good cause. The macho male replies to her thus: “You won’t need much of anybody’s help. You’re good. You’re very good. It’s chiefly your eyes, I think, and that throb you get into your voice when you say things like ‘Be generous, Mr. Spade (Hammett). ’” Spade tells Effie Perrine, another woman: “You’re a damned good man, sister (Hammett). ” In truth, the man cannot think beyond his masculinity.
In his view, there is one true gender in the world: that of the male. Sam Spade is in fact praising Effie by calling her a good man. Yet another way to comprehend Spade’s words is to assume that he honestly admired his faithful secretary, Effie, for qualities that reminded him of the concept of manhood. She can rebuke him when she must, yet remain loyal to him throughout (Hammett). Indeed, the properties characteristic of the female sex – as explained throughout this paper – remain with females in the home and the workplace.
Men are there to remind women of my definition of femininity whenever women appear to have forgotten them. Seeing as women are expected to care for their families before considering working outside the home, men seem to keep trying to push them back into their homes. However, women that are successful in the professional world somehow manage to juggle between the properties characteristic of the female sex – as explained in this paper – and some of the properties characteristic of the male sex, for example, toughness and high intelligence.
They may care for their families while remaining successful in the workplace. They may be beautiful as well as intelligent. By juxtaposing the stereotypical image of the female and defining characteristics of the male that allow them to succeed in the workplace, women may indeed begin to look upon themselves as androgynous beings. After all, it was only the environment that had taught them to believe in their own stereotypical image, that is, my definition of femininity, formulated only because androgyny was not an option to focus on.
Works Cited Chopin, Kate. “The Storm. ” 1898. 1 May 2008. <http://classiclit. about. com/library/bl- etexts/kchopin/bl-kchop-thestorm. htm>. Hammett, Dashiell. The Maltese Falcon. New York: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard, 2004. “Media Stereotyping. ” (2007). Media Awareness Network. 1 May 2008. <http://www. media- awareness. ca/english/issues/stereotyping/index. cfm>. Thorne, B. Gender Play: Girls and Boys in Schools. Piscataway: Rutgers University Press, 1993.Sample Essay of BuyEssay.org