While it may not be technically true, men and a sizeable portion of women tend to believe that women will never rise to the level of power and respect that men seem to enjoy, simply because women are perceived as the weaker gender because generally they are physically weaker than men. To prove this age old theory, the novels The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey, both support the notion that men will always have more power than women. This is displayed throughout the novels through the characters Daisy Buchanan, Myrtle Wilson and Nurse Ratched, respectively. Although a certain segment of women defy the standard stereotype and are physically stronger and more powerful than men, women will always be seen as the weaker gender so long as human perception remains superficial.Women were portrayed as the weaker sex and unequal to men during the 1900’s and this notion has carried through in today’s era. Women were to act a certain way as well as conform to the roles they played as a superficial woman.
In the novel The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald expresses through Daisy Buchanan the stereotype the majority of society held against women: passive, naive, and graceful. Daisy is a character that conforms to society to benefit her well being. Instead of oppressing the stereotype she endorses it by doing the exact opposite. Daisy undermines woman as a whole as she adds to the superficiality the world is accustomed to by playing “the part” to benefit her life. Daisy does this in many ways throughout the novel. Daisy’s intentions are made clear when she is brought to tears at the realization that her child is a girl. She then states that “the best thing a girl can be in this world is a beautiful little fool (Fitzgerald, pg 17). This is ironic because of the idea that Daisy does not see herself as a fool, becoming apparent that she is in fact aware of the status and undermining role women are perceived as.
In contrast in the novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest Nurse Ratched also upholds and glorifies the superficiality of women but in the mere opposite way. Nurse Ratched defeminized herself to gain political power and respect. Nurse Ratched is also aware of the stereotype women held and goes around it by portraying herself as a masculine figure while she emasculates men. This endorses the superficial stereotype of women because she demonstrates that she can not gain this power as a woman figure she needs to take on male characteristics to do so; thus encouraging the stereotype that women are weaker than men.
She abandons all of the qualities that a person would perceive as feminine characteristics; “a mistake was made somehow in manufacturing, putting those big, womanly breasts on what would of otherwise been a perfect work, and you can see how bitter she is about it.” (1.118). Her as well as all the men in the ward think of her in a masculine way, she hides her breasts and feminine parts under her lengthy dress, not only does she hide her physical feminine qualities but she does so with her physiological attributes as well. Nurse Ratched speaks in a monotone voice and acts as if she lacks expression or emotions which women tend to overexploit. Throughout these two novels each character contributes to the stereotype that women will always be seen as the weaker gender so long as human perception remains superficial; as each succumb to society’s _____ in order to benefit their well being.
While it may not be technically true, men and a sizeable portion of women tend to believe that women will never rise to the level of power and respect that men seem to enjoy, simply because women are perceived as the weaker gender because generally they are physically weaker than men.