The Color Purple-Gender Roles (TOOLS OF OPPRESSION (Gender Expectations…
The Color Purple-Gender Roles
Writing to God preserved her voice during a time where she was too weak to grow
True growth when writing to Nettie. She is able to explore and find her voice, self, and gain confidence
Gave her unconditional love, which gave her an environment to grow and develop
The complimented each other, they did not compete like a typical heterosexual relationship. They understood what it was like to be oppressed, and Shug helped elevate Shug
Shug helped Celie find her voice, stand up to Mister, redefine God, and have her a sense of self.
Walker. Politics of Sex and Self. One cannot be defined by another gender. The women who stuck together were able to break free.
TOOLS OF OPPRESSION
Women are taught to obey men. Celie is passed from her abusive father to an abusive husband
Slavery encompassed a social relationship of powerful vs. powerless. Not equals. Mister's relative was a slave-owner, this dynamic was apart of his family history
Gives a guideline for their life, that they feel they cannot stray from.
Disagreeing with roles makes the men feel "wrong", and so they try to suppress or overcompensate
Expectations for women: obey husband, do household work, be submissive, enjoy feminine activities such as knitting
Ideas of men:do physical labor, beat their wives, be in control
used to silence femininity, and voice
The FEAR of rape is motivation. It causes women to deny their body, and make their self less of a presence (Griffen). Dehuminization. Celie thinks of herself as a tree
Opposite effect for Celie. It helps her find her voice, because she begins writing, which allows her to grow into an individual.
Reversal of Gender Roles
Mister/Albert and Shug Avery
Albert found courage to change when Shug left him
Gender is a socially imposed Categorization
Shug does not like to sew, take care of children, and she is the financial provider in their relationship
Mr. enjoys sewing and cooking, but is unable to accept the feminine side of him
They experiment with cross-dressing. Shug brings out his femininity.
Harpo and Sophia
They would have been happy if it were not for Mister teaching Harpo that a "good" marraige is achieved when a man is in control
Harpo could not accept that love is more important than obedience, and that love leads to happiness
Harpo likes cooking and cleaning, while Sophia likes outdoor work and manual labor
Sophia is often seen as possessing masculine qualities through her body and occupation as a roofer. When Harpo gain's weight he still seems feminine and looks "pregnant"
Passing Down Abusive Culture
Mister teaches Harpo that women and children are similar. He tells him that they need to be beaten in order to learn. He presents this as a fact or life lesson.
Harpo thinks he has to follow gender roles taught by his father, because he has no other outside influences. He believes his is less of a man if he disobeys
Sophia challenges him. Tough, fights back, wins. Harpo won't acceptthat he likes to clean and she likes manual labor.
In end, after taking care of his father, and becoming more "maternal", he is able to accept his feminine qualities.
Mister's relative was a white slave owner, which passed down values of ownership, dominance, and submission
Slavery created foundation for a dynamic between powerful and powerless. They are not taught about equals. Everyone is applied to this.
Mister is structured in these beliefs, but Shug and Celie help change him.
Alice Walker wanted to show his change. She wanted him to be appreciated at the end. He is able to accept his feminine qualities, such as knitting. This leads to an improved relationship between him and Celie. It shows they are similar.