Gender Roles In Murasaki Shikibu Genji

Decent Essays

In Murasaki Shikibu Nikki, the author says: “To be pleasant, gently, calm and self-possessed: this is the basis of good taste and charm in a woman” (Shirane, 450). Women were supposed to act a certain way, and this diary specifies the boundaries clearly. Most of this is because she herself was the object of criticism from those around her, despite the popularity of her tales. Another tip from her is “No matter how amorous or passionate you may be, as long as you are straightforward and refrain from causing others embarrassment, no one will mind” (450). If you do not follow society’s guidelines, you will be judged in every movement you make, and “people will find fault with whatever [you] say or do; whether it be how [you] enter a room, how [you] sit down, how [you] stand up or how [you] take [your] leave” (451). She goes on about how she is regarded by others because of how much she knows, and the rumors that spread about her. People generally think she is worth making fun of and talking about because she knows Chinese and because she referenced the Chronicles of Japan, a classic text about Japan, in The Tale of Genji (451).
The Changelings is an interesting monogatari from this time period. The story revolves around two characters who fall into gender roles different from their sex. Sadaijin’s son acted more like a girl. He “became surprisingly shy…painted, played with dolls, and was absorbed with such games as matching seashells” (Willig, 14). His daughter began to act

Get Access