Gender Identity In Boys And Girls By Alice Munro

1195 Words 5 Pages
Gonzalez, Katelynn
Professor Jessica Pitts
September 26th, 2014

The Cage of Predetermined Gender Identities
In “Boys and Girls” by Alice Munro

“Boys and Girls” written by Alice Munro explores the relationship that a daughter (our narrator) has with her immediate family and how the word “girl” affects her life. After helping her father for years, her brother finally comes of age to replace her, putting her into the domestic sphere when it is revealed that she let a mare escape before her father could shoot it. This short story delves into the idea that the female identity is erased from traditional male activities by soft sexism, putting women into the role of “girlhood” by means of this implicit sexism. This idea is shown through the changing of pronouns that slowly push the narrator away from the male groups,
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Women, girls, and female-identifying persons cannot fully express themselves (even in modern day) without an air of criticism coming to surround them. Conversely, males and male-identifying persons are not allowed to show weakness, not allowed to indulge in emotions, and are forbidden from enjoying domestic activities. Gender is policed by traditional values within gender identity, and the sexism of what “should be” and how someone expresses that identity. In “Boys and Girls” by Alice Munro, these gender roles are explored and show that it is very damaging to an individual’s self-worth to have gender policed and to dismiss someone based solely on their gender identity. Our narrator was isolated from the things she enjoyed, the things she wanted to engage in, while simultaneously being turned into her prescribed gender and how society views that gender. She was “only a girl”, as if there was nothing more to her. This short story calls for the erasure of gender spheres and the recognition of ones worth based on who they are rather than what they should

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