Femininity In To Kill A Mockingbird Analysis

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“Femininity is not about what you wear, what you say or what you do…it is about who you are.” Femininity is a consistent theme throughout To Kill a Mockingbird and is important to discuss because it is vital for growing women to understand that they deserve equal rights and opportunity throughout the entirety of their lives. Throughout To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee discusses the theme of femininity through the opinions of the Maycomb citizens, in order to suggest that femininity is forced upon women, femininity can be empowering and feminism is a powerful force.

In the beginning of the text, Harper Lee develops the theme of femininity through contradictory opinions on the ideal woman, in order to suggest that femininity is often forced
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He tells Scout that he does “not want to hear any words like that” while he is around and he explains to her that “if [she] wants to grow up to be a lady” then you must not use inappropriate words. (Lee 90) This moment in the text shows a man forcing his thoughts on femininity upon a growing and easily influence able girl. She is told exactly how to act which leaves her with no opinions of her own, instead a grown man is directing her completely on how a proper woman should act. It proves to us that femininity is forced upon women. In the beginning of the text, Scout is faced with a few women role models, who all have their own opinions on how a proper woman dresses. Miss Maudie is a neighbor who “works in her flower beds in an old straw hat and men’s’ overalls.” (Lee 47) Scout is also influenced by her Aunt Alexandra, who tells her that she “could not possibly hope to be a lady if she wore breeches.” (Lee 92) With these two very contradictory opinions, Scout is met with a tough decision on who to follow. Miss Maudie represents the idea to Scout that grown women around her wear breeches, and along with that, they do activities in which breeches are required. On the other …show more content…
After the trial of Tom Robinson, Jem questions Atticus about why people like Miss Maudie don’t serve on juries. Atticus explains to Jem, saying, “ Miss Maudie can’t serve on a jury because she’s a woman.” (Lee, 252) As Atticus states this in front of Scout, it becomes very clear to her that women are viewed as less powerful than men. Through this quote, we see that women are often expected to cooperate with unfair laws and stereotypes because of the idea that women are not worthy of equality. At this point, Scout now understands how the men of Macomb feel towards women, and shortly after she develops an idea of her father’s opinions. Atticus continues on as he says, “ I doubt if we’d ever get a complete case tried- the ladies’d be interrupting to ask questions.” (Lee 252) As Scout and Jem hear this they both laugh it off, but we can assume that Scout continues to analyze Atticus’ words, as she is a very curious girl. It is likely that Scout receives this message and begins to question whether her father believes women are too small-minded to represent themselves on a jury, implied by his statement that categorizes all women into one category. This may lead Scout to believe that women in Maycomb are

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