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Subvert Gender Stereotype In Case Of Gone With The Wind Canada College Engl 100 Essay

1338 words - 6 pages

Subvert gender stereotype in case of Gone With the Wind 
Although the film Gone With the Wind is highly controversial with depiction of racial stereotypes, it is according to some critics more of “a study in gender roles, in what it means to be a man or a woman in the South” (Jones 105). The film sets on the Southern culture, a war’s losing side, during the Civil War. On the one hand, it is easy to think the film reinforces gender stereotypes by tightly prescribing gender roles to mask a patriarchy organized around the property, class, lineage and white supremacy. White women were put on pedestals; black women were sexually exploited to fulfill mother figures for their owner’s benefits. White men saw themselves as gallant rulers, and black men, as slaves, were treated contemptuously. On the other hand, such Southern culture and the powerful patriarchal elite both ended up in destruction while the main female character Scarlett O’Hara survived and flourished eventually. Hence, I believe that the movie Gone With The Wind subverts the gender stereotypy by describing the dissolution of the patriarchal society and the rise of the female character Scarlett, who railed against the socially constructed overemphasis on women’s appearance or manners and achieved independence with self-determination.
The film subverts the male-as-conquering-hero myth as it describes the dissolution of old culture where the gender roles were tightly prescribed to mask a patriarchy organized around the property, class, lineage and white supremacy. To a large extent, the preservation of such ideology depends on the tightly prescribed gender and racial roles. At the central position to the South culture is the “Southern belle”, who mold their body into a stiff and slim cone-shape with whalebones inserted in the lining of outer garments and also bounded against individuality by social taboos. Being the model of Southern womanhood, Scarlett's mother, Ellen, accepts all the stereotypical female responsibilities as a traditional mom, always with a bit of darning or needlework in her hands and often worked as a nurse caring for the family. However when the world changes, this fine lady is no longer to fulfill her traditional hostess role and lost her life purpose in the post-bellum America. After writing to request Scarlett coming back to the rescue for years, Ellen dies at a crucial moment: when the war's end and before Scarlett's return. Such timing can be interpreted as both emphasizing Ellen’s helplessness when she lost her past glory and conveying the message that the ideals symbolized by Ellen, including those feminine, have become anachronistic. Melanie, like Ellen, is also stereotypically feminine. Unlike Scarlett, Melanie welcomes domesticity; she risks her own life twice in order to have children of her own. Dying while pregnant eventually, Melanie represents the ultimate woman, while her death enforces the diminishing destiny of the submissive wife and the radical...

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