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Gender and Masculinity

            All throughout history, there have been certain gender role expectations enforced by society for both men and women. Men are taught that their role is to behave masculinely. Women on the other hand, are taught that they are supposed to behave femininely. What is the idea of masculinity? Intelligence, superiority, as well as strength are some of the terms associated with the concept of being masculine, as opposed to being feminine. How does this effect the expectations of a woman needing to take the feminine role? Masculinity is a stereotypical expectation society has for men which leads to the outdated notion that women need to be feminine. .
             Along with the postulation that men are the masculine gender, being more intelligent and capable of being intellectual compared to women, leads to the general perception that women are less knowledgable. This outdated misconception is what has kept women from having the same opportunities for success that men have had. It was not until the late 1800s when women were beginning to receive formal schooling in the United States. Men have always been given the favorable possibility of attending school and obtaining a higher, well-rounded education. Referred to as the "mother of feminism", Mary Wollstonecraft, claims that men "spend many of the first years of their lives in acquiring a smattering of accomplishments; meanwhile strength of body and mind are sacrificed to libertine notions of beauty" for women (10). Boys got to concentrate on their education, along with their success, while women were taught to do chores around the house, take care of younger children, and look pretty to please their husbands. Furthermore, during the 19th century, women writers were not respected as serious authors. Charlotte Bronte, author of Jane Eyre, was forced to publish her works under the male nom de plume, Currer Bell, in order for her writings to be read and become successful.

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