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    Thinking about JANE EYRE: Masculinity & Femininity

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    Joumen

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    Thinking about JANE EYRE: Masculinity & Femininity

    Post by Joumen on Tue Nov 20, 2007 12:28 am

    Topic : Masculinity and Femininity in J.E

    DEFINITION OF IMPORTANT CONCEPTS:

    Masculinity and Femininity:

    There is an obstacle to finding truth because of the varying definitions of the words.
    Scientifically speaking, a males has roughly 50% more brute strength and 40% of his body weight is muscle as oppposed to 23% in females. A female has a greater constitutional vitality than males. As a result, females enjoy greater resistence to disease and a longer life.
    A female has smaller lungs and more water content in their blood; the blood contains 20% fewer red blood cells. She has larger kidneys, livers, stomachs, appendices. Thus, her body is built to accommodate the extra needs that occur during pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood.
    Male’s and female’s skeletal structure differs: females have shorther heads, broader faces with less protruding chins, shorter legs, longer trunks, smaller hands and feet, and a different angle in the elbow joint. This different angle of the elbow joint is a fascinating display of specialization: a male’s elbow points out while in a relaxed standing position; a female’s points either back or in. The result is that when trying to hold a young infant, a male must pull his shoulder up into an uncomfortable position while a female’s arms and shoulders fold naturally into the proper position. Physically, females have been created with a body that has been built with specialized functions of pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood.

    Now we will move to the “social” definition. Femininity and masculinity are rooted in the social (one’s gender) rather than the biological ( one’s sex).Societal members decide what being male or female means and males will generally respond by defining themselves as masculine while females will generally define themselves as feminine. Because these are social definitions,however, it is possible for one to be female and see herself as masculine or male and see himself as feminine. Here we should distinguish between gender identity, as explained above, and gender-related concepts like gender roles. This latter may include women investing in the domestic role as a mother, a daughter, and a wife and men investing in the worker role. Gender identity is also different from the concept gender stereotypes which are shared views of personality traits. It also differs from the concept gender attitudes meaning the views of others. In fact, these concepts, gender roles, gender stereotypes, and gender attitudes influence one’s gender identity.

    BRAINSTORMING:
    What is “masculinity” and “femininity” in Jane Eyre?Are the female/male characters in the novel influenced by the gender stereotypes and roles of the period( the Victorian Age)?
    What about the protagonist? In other words, to what extent is Jane the stereotype of the nineteenth century woman? Is she created to criticize the rule of that day or to embody the very meaning of being a female in that period?
    How do the education of Jane, her way of seeing things, her relationships, the description of clothes and places depict the image of femininity in those days?

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