Sunday, 18 September 2016


two years ago
F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby takes place in a new, interesting, exciting time in American history. It take place right after women received their right to vote, their right to work, and they gained freedom that they never experienced before. Women started working in jobs only men would work and started doing a whole lot of other things that made them more independent. Unfortunately these changes didn’t have a big impact on the characters in the Fitzgerald’s novel, sure the women seem freer by being able to vote and having jobs, but during several scenes, we see women being controlled by men, submissive, and obedient.  The men in the novel seem to be overpowered, controlling, and dishonest especially towards the women. Nearly a hundred years later, gender equality and the roles of women in today’s society still seem to be a serious issue. Society has improved itself from the times of the novel, for example in today’s world there are hundreds of powerful figures who are female, but gender roles and gender inequality still exists in America. Some people still believe that gender roles should not be changed, for example Spiderman star Kristen Dunst stated in U.S. Magazine that “We all have to get our own jobs and make our own money, but staying at home, nurturing, being a mother, cooking – it’s a valuable thing my mom created.” She stated her opinion and believes that the gender role of females staying at home and taking care of the children should not be changed, and no doubt she received a lot of criticism by saying that. Gender roles and inequality is one of the main issues we see in The Great Gatsby, and it’s still one of the main issues our society faces today.

            Throughout The Great Gatsby, we witness many scenes when females are mistreated and even sometimes beat by the dominant male characters. In chapter two, we see a violent encounter between Mrs. Wilson and Tom Buchanan as they get into a serious argument when Mrs. Wilson yells “Daisy! Daisy! Daisy!’ shouted Mrs. Wilson, ‘I’ll say it whenever I want to! Daisy! Dai –‘Making a short deft movement, Tom Buchanan broke her nose with his open hand.” (Fitzgerald 37) This scene shows how women were mistreated and how Tom wants to be the dominant one by hitting Mrs. Wilson, who is a lower-class lady, which also signifies the mistreatment of the lower-class. The mistreatment of women in the novel can be related to this article found in the NY Times which talks about the gender gap at the top museums. According to the article “Women run just a quarter of the biggest art museums in the United States and Canada, and they earn about a third less than their male counterparts.” There are many more cases where women and men have the same career but the women are unequally treated. The gender roles and inequality we see in the novel still are a major issue our society faces every day.

In the novel, we see a lot of inequality towards women and scenes with gender roles, where women were expected to act a certain way or do certain things. For example in chapter four the narrator explains a scene when Daisy got drunk instead of acting ladylike, “I was a bridesmaid. I came into her room half and hour before the bridal dinner, and found her lying on her bad as lovely as the June night in her flowered dress – as drunk as a monkey. She had a bottle of Sauterne in one hand and a letter in the other. … I was scared, I can tell you; I’d never seen a girl like that before.” (Fitzgerald 76.) This scene shows how Daisy gets drunk and how the narrator is shocked to see Daisy, a lady, in a state like this. Daisy just received a letter from Gatsby which explains why she was crying, but to get drunk like she did wasn't okay, but if it was a man to that, it might have been a different story. It’s unfair for someone to be expected to do something just cause of their gender, if someone wants to follow their passion whether or not society expects them of doing it or not, he/she should still do it. For example, the article What It’s like to Be a Girl Who Codes, the author explains her experiences being the only girl in coding because girls aren't usually expected to go into computer sciences or engineering majors. She states “In the tech world, people looked at you funny if you were not a male. This, too, was normal.” Even though some of the smartest engineers and researchers are girls, society still expects men to be engineers and into programming.

Expectations and gender roles play a big part of The Great Gatsby as well as today’s society. In the novel, Tom Buchanan talks about the expectations of Jordan Baker to her family and he states “She’s a nice girl.… They oughtn’t to let her run around the country this way. . . . She’s going to spend lots of week-ends out here this summer. I think the home influence will be very good for her.” (Fitzgerald 18-19) Jordan already has expectations she has to follow. Today, we have these expectations as well, but some of them are changing. For example the ABC news article For Young Boys, Is Pink the New Blue, the author explains that “For generations the view has held strong that while girls must dress in pink to be girls, boys can't do anything with pink, lest they turn into girls.” This expectation seems to be changing as more and more fathers are willing to let their sons dress freely and wear what color they want, instead of following the expectations set dozens of years ago.

Gender roles and equality seemed to be a problem during the time The Great Gatsby was written, and unfortunately today, this problem seems to still be lingering. Today, the problem doesn't seem to be as bad, but it still happens in many occasions. It is unfair for someone to be judged or treated by their gender, it doesn't make sense for women to not get paid as much just for being females, it’s truly backwards thinking.