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Gender Roles in To Kill A Mockingbird

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Sabrina Kozar

on 26 May 2013

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Transcript of Gender Roles in To Kill A Mockingbird

Gender Roles The pattern of masculine or feminine
behaviour of an individual that is dependent
on a particular culture and that largely
influenced by the child's upbringing Gender Roles in Harper Lee's
To Kill a Mockingbird Gender Roles Today As in the past, gender roles determine how we should think, dress, act and interact within society. Although the roles have changed since the 1950's, many of the same ideas are present today. These roles are defined to children by parents, peers,school and the media. Common Gender Roles Quotes re: Gender Roles Scout struggles with the concept of being a "girl" as defined by society's standards throughout the novel.

- She grew up without a mother
-Miss Maudie was an independent woman and a role model to Scout
-Atticus agrees to allow Aunt Alexandra to live with them for a few months after she insisted Scout needed her influence as a woman
-Scout understands that she must one day be a woman Gender Roles in the 1950's The role of woman in the 1950's was repressive and constrictive in many ways. During the war, woman had taken on many of the previously dominated male jobs but were expected to return to their "place" in society when the soldiers came home. Woman were expected to be;
-a diligent homemaker
-a caring mother
-an obedient wife Advertisements during this time reinforced the gender roles of woman and men. In the novel, Jem and Scout are
both trying to find a sense of
identity and are learning by
observing the world around them.
During this time in history, the roles of men and woman were very traditional and it was expected that as young obedient children, they would develop these same traits. "I could not possibly be a lady if I wore breeches; when I said I could do nothing in a dress, she said I wasn't supposed to be doing things that required pants. Aunt Alexandra's vision of my deportment involved playing with small stoves, tea sets and wearing the Add-a-Pearl necklace she got me when I was born."
-Jean Louis Finch
(Chap.9 Pg. 108) " "Boys don't cook." I giggled at the idea of Jem in an apron."
-Scout (109. chap. 9)

"Grandma says that all men should learn to cook, that men oughta be careful with their wives and wait on 'em when they don't feel good."
-Francis (109. chap.9)

"It's time you start bein' a girl and actin' right!"
-Jem to Scout (154. chap.12)

"Well you won't get very far until you start wearing dresses more often."
- Miss Stephanie (308. chap.24) Male
- tough -fighter
-dominant - expected to play
-courageous physical sports
-insensitive -support the family The Gender Gap In the home:

Woman tend to be in charge of; decorating, laundry, organizing parties, and often cooking

Men are responsible for; barbequing, home repairs and maintenance, "handyman" Woman were to be patient, calm, understanding and were expected to act less intelligent of their husbands and not to disagree with their views.

Men were expected to be hardworking and striving for the "America Dream." Gender roles were especially prominent in the 1950's, they are demonstrated in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird as the young characters discover themselves and they still play an important role in society today with the result being a gap in gender equity in North America and the rest of the world. Influences on gender in TKAM

- Atticus
Strong willed, a lawyer, represents the family name

-Aunt Alexandra
Earns respect through social events, religious, Female
- sensitive -organized
- caring -responsible
-balancing work and children
-responsible for cooking and cleaning How do children learn their gender roles? Toys Boys
- interactive, building, requires thought and fine motor skills
e.g lego, trucks,trains, puzzles, science kits

Girls
-pretty to look at, requires imagination, many toys imitate real life and prepares the girl for a motherly role, more fragile
e.g toy kitchens, baby alive dolls, barbies Media
Disney Movies Cinderella- the girl is living a lost and sad life until she is saved by the prince (1950)

Snow White - beings with Snow White cleaning the house for the seven dwarfs who are all male, coincidence? (1937)

Mulan- story is focused around a woman who disguises herself as a male warrior and becomes a war hero (1998) Pay Equity in Canada 1995 Judges Pay

Male Female
128 791 117 707

Specialist Physician
Male Female
137 019 86 086

Investment Dealers
90 391 47 323 In 2010, women accounted for 10% of engineers in Canada.

Women with a bachelor degree earned 89 cents for every dollar of a male counterpart.

Young women with only a high school diploma earned 69 cents for every dollar of a male counterpart.

The most recent Statistics Canada data shows that the gender wage gap in Ontario is 28% for full–time, full–year workers. This means that for every $1.00 earned by a male worker, a female worker earns 72 cents. '… Miss Maudie can't serve on a jury because she's a woman.'
'You mean women in Alabama can't -?' I was indignant.
'I do. I guess it's to protect our frail ladies from sordid cases like Tom's. Besides,' Atticus grinned, 'I doubt if we'd ever get a complete case tried - the ladies'd be interrupting to ask questions.'
Jem and I laughed ... Perhaps our fore fathers were wise.' (Pg. 296 Chap.23) Although our sex is determined at birth, the people around us, the school we attend, our family and the media all play integral roles in defining how we should act, think and interact in society.
However, gender roles can limit people to reach their fullest potential and often have negative consequences.
As in the words of Jean Louis Finch;
" "I felt the starched walls of a pink cotton penitentiary closing in on me, and for the second time in my life I thought of running away". (Pg. 182. Chap. 14)
Full transcript