To What Extent Does Literature Allow Us To Understand The Biased View On Gender And Culture

Submitted By ridzrizwan
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To what extent does literature allow us to understand the biased views society has established on gender and culture?
Literature, to a great extent can allow us to differentiate between the stereotypical interpretations society has set on certain cultures and genders. Until this day, there are certain labels set on both males and females and people of different beliefs. Many pieces of literature revolve around the idea of stereotypical views and discuss concepts of stereotypes based on race, sex, or sexual preference. Stereotypes can be defined as, “A widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing.” Literature has taught me, to a great extent that no matter where you may be the labels that society has put on you will forever be an ongoing factor in one’s life. Whether it is family, friends, or the environment around you, an individuals mindset in this day and age, and as the generation continues to go on has become so dependable on the sayings and teachings of society, that it is nearly unlikely for someone to base their judgements on a specific race or gender by themselves and not by what society has portrayed them as.
“It is unusual to have a daughter so highly qualified.” (Kapur, 179) Difficult Daughters, is a novel illustrating the day to day pressures and occurrences Virmati, an Indian born female has to go through. Being born in an Indian household, with many strict and traditional family members Virmati is stuck between determining what is right and what is wrong. Not only is she pressurized into ending her education, but is also continuously asked to get married and start a family. Her family believes, allowing females to pursue in high levels of education is bound to get them nowhere. The concept of having girls end their education early and start preparing themselves for marriage is very common among South Asian families, till this day. I can say this because I have encountered many family friends, and relatives who have put in their minds that their daughters will not continue education after a certain age, because it is embarrassing and gives people the chance to talk about your family. This is a form of an old “tradition” that families believe, and until this day may or may not follow. Me also being born in a South Asian household can to some extent relate to this concept of early marriage because, I have many family members who believe in the same idea that their society portrays back home; girls should not be allowed to continue education after a certain age. Being born in a Muslim household, I am aware that at one point in time I will have to start thinking about marriage. Although this is the case, my parents do not follow the tradition and thinking of other members in our family and think logically. Although our society back home in Pakistan, is much against the fact of females pursuing in high levels of education, my parents are aware that a female is also as capable of doing as much a man can. It is not necessarily important for one to think, that because a female is working so much towards developing a successful career, she will end up having a corrupt marital status because of the sayings of people around you. “Who is responsible for this state of affairs? Society, which deems that their sons should be educated, but not their daughters. Society that decides that children-babies really-should be married at the ages of two and three as we were.” (Kapur, 103)
Society plays a very huge and influential factor in everyones lives. Throughout the course, and during several discussions in class, it has been discussed over and over again that society is a very influential factor with the teachings they teach. The Danger of a Single Story by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a TED talk watched in class, mainly revolves around the idea of societies teachings affecting the way people think. Her main objective in this TED talk is to show and explain how society’s