Sunday, March 4, 2012

Project Web Essay

Steven Lee
Professor Dinsmore
Eng 114B
28 Febuary 2012
Society’s Gender Role
Identity plays a big role in modern day life. It symbolizes who you are and how people think about you. No matter what people say about, “Don’t Judge a Book by its cover”, it does not matter because in our mind we judge people. We give them names based on their identity and we remember them based on their identity. The movie, Gamer and the graphic novel, Surrogate are two excellent sources that portray identity as a role in life. Society is a very cruel place when it comes to gender, if you’re a woman you must be a sentimental human being, if you are a man you must be masculine. These are common gender role that society demands and expect people to follow.
The graphic novel, Surrogate shows a good example of how gender is portrayed in society. In the book, people live a life where they could be anyone they want to be. They are represented in society as artificial human who could live life as a different identity. The CEO of the surrogate company, Victor, is really a surrogate who is controlled by a women named Victoria. The nature of this proves that as a woman, she believes that being a man in society gives her special privileges and  being a CEO of one of the biggest company that should be well taken care of. Victoria used Victor as a source of having a bigger voice in the company’s action. Even in a world where everyone is perfect, she still use a man as the symbol of power. This shows where the power belongs to in modern day civilization because in the book, their timeline is not so far from our time. 
Despite Harvey being emotionally strong, in the other hand, Margaret (Harvey’s wife), does not believe in going outside without her surrogate. She is living the fantasy that everyone women wants, staying young and beautiful. This does not last forever because when Harvey turned off all Surrogate in the world, he goes home finding out that Margaret committed suicide. Society in Surrogate is trying to explain the nature of women, saying that their image is very important to them, they are very sentimental and weak, and they depend on men. These are all stereotypical things that relates to how Society view men and women.
Harvey’s and Margret’s incident brings up the topic of the reason of why a specific gender cares about their personal appearance more than the other. The stereotype about women caring more about their looks than men is true because men seek women for their looks. This works more like a supply and demand way, but in society’s point-of-view. If men are looking for looks that means women are looking for personality. These kind of stereotypes are all picked up from the media because we believe that in life, women are seeking a man who would protect them. If women are supplying the demand of men who are seeking the appearance of women, then this sums up  the solution of which gender has the power in society.
In reality, from past to present, women are sometime controlled by men both figuratively and literally. Both, the movie Gamer and the graphic novel Surrogate have scenes where men control women as another identity. In Gamer, there exist a place called Society where people could be controlled by other people who could afford the cost to control human. A scene is gamer showed a man controlling a woman, and he is having her do stuff beyond imagination. This kind of act is worse than chattel slavery because she is less than a property that could be sold; she is basically controlled to do his bidding. In Surrogate it is a different story because the man who was controlling the woman was controlling a surrogate. Both of these examples are trying to tell us something about society in the human world. Men want to be the superior gender in the world. They act to dominate over women and they act to show this by controlling women.
There are many assumption about gender role, and they are very stereotypical when people say them. Taking a look at wiki-answer, there was some opinions about the life of a woman and the life of a man. “Men’s Instinct is to breed with as many women as possible, and to make sure they are having “his” kids. This kind of statement reflects nature and the role of the male species. This applies directly to nature because life is all about reproducing and to do this they must have some sort of feature to “impress” the female, so this might be a relation to power.
Wiki-Answer also provide a statement about female, which is the counterpart of the male species. “Women instinct is to restrain, control, and be picky about men. This kind of statement is true because women are the one who decide whether or not the man gets to have sexual intercourse with them. They are more in control because if they say no, it means no and if the man attempts something it is consider rape. Although this is stereotypical, we see a lot of this in movies so it becomes a trend in society. Men have power, but women has power in a sexual relationship.
From the very beginning in civilization, society has a gender role and purpose for human. Through time these role change, but some role still stay specifically intact.. Although it is cruel and the stereotype that are made about opposing genders are very inaccurate, it is only a mere question on why we still think this way. Having an identity means you will be judged, not out loud, but it is from another person’s perspective. The gender we have is just a mere identity that reflects our image and something to be used as a sub category of a human being. Male or Female, gender is just an identity and it could be altered because it is based on appearances.


  1. Good job on the essay, I believe it is very true the way you point out that no matter what people will judge others based on appearance. After reading what Wiki-Answers told you, though I believe that it is bad, that is true about male and females, but I also believe that as appearances go, the world today looks down on people ever more for for staying from the "status quo" of feminine females and masculine males.

  2. Hi Steven,

    I think this essay has a strong focus about how our culture/society/civilization (however you want to focus it) believes women are inferior. The Surrogates futuristic, utopian-like society perpetuates that stereotype. The next question to ask is "why?"

    It's good that you did some research on Wiki-answer, but that site and Wikipedia are not, unfortunately, the authoritative source on such issues. I believe secondary resources from other sites or the library, library databases, etc., is the way to go. What you want to express about gender roles should be specific to something in the novel about gender roles. So if you want to look at the Victor/Victoria dichotomy, it would be beneficial to research how many male and female CEOs exist now or historically.

    I also found your section on sexuality really interesting. This could be an entire paper on its own. If you wanted to research how women have been treated as sex objects, you could certainly do that.

    Let me know if you have any questions.

  3. P.S. The actress in the photo you posted from the film looks like Katy Perry. Interesting...