The Ambiguity Of Gender In The Heifer By Melissa Hardy

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The Ambiguity of Gender The Oxford Dictionary defines gender as “the state of being male or female (typically used with reference to social and cultural differences rather than biological ones)”, meaning that sex and gender are not necessarily the same thing. In society, certain rules and guidelines have been set up for both genders and members of the respective communities are expected to follow these guidelines. In the short story “The Heifer” by Melissa Hardy, the main character, Aina, goes against gender norms and displays qualities that are often attributed to men. These qualities include strength, dedication, and intelligence: as exemplified through Aina’s creative thinking, such as figuring out how to get the cow over the frozen lake, …show more content…
Uwe’s irresponsibility is evident throughout the story, and makes him seem like an unreliable wimp. This is demonstrated in the story when he gives up trying to ready the soil on his farm to start growing and instead decides to go work in the mines to get rich quickly. After working for years to save up money to buy a farm and bring Aina over to Canada, he gives up on his goal very quickly. Aina, on the other hand, has more determination and willpower to achieve her goals. When she decides that she has to get her cow, Olga, over the frozen lake, she works tirelessly all day to make boots for the cow. As obscure an idea as it is, it proves to be successful after all the hard work Aina puts in. This situation portrays Aina to be strong-willed and have undeterred motivation: characteristics that would societally be expected of her husband rather than her. But societal expectations appear to mean nothing to Aina, who does not hinder her own capabilities to please …show more content…
Throughout history, there have been innumerable examples of not only women, but also men acting against the gender norms to show their extravagance and brilliance. Especially in more recent years, there has been a serious distancing of gender norms and what is considered to be “socially acceptable” for either gender. From small steps, like an increase in female celebrities wearing more masculine clothing such as suits and cutting their hair short- inspiring the everyday woman to follow course, to larger steps, such as more and more women deciding not to get married or have children. A mere fifty years ago, any woman who partook in these types of actions was seen as reckless and looked down upon. But today, it’s becoming more acceptable to act however one pleases. This begs to question the validity of gender and whether or not it is even a true dictating factor. Personally, I do not think it is. Even looking at the idea of hunters, who are traditionally thought to be men wielding spears and providing for their families, there is evidence of women being prevalent in this as well. This evidence is most convincing when looked at through ancient Greece and the goddess Artemis, god of hunters and wildlife. It is simply unfair to deem hunting an action that males

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