Gender Roles In Why Women Smile By Paul Theroux

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Gender roles perceived through societal pressures are revealed and examined in the articles “Why Women Smile,” by Amy Cunningham and “Being a Man,” written by Paul Theroux. Cunningham conveys her view on the smile often seen on women and describes how it can veil several other emotions due to gender roles and stereotypes. On the other hand, Theroux explains his stance on the meaning behind “Being a Man” and how it constraints men to an emotionally damaging set of characteristics and expectations. Although Cunningham and Theroux voice their opinion on either gender, their responses are similar as they describe the effect the strong relationship between society and gender roles has on an individual.
In the article, “Why Women Smile,” Cunningham conveys how she believes smiles to be, “not the small and innocuous things they appear to be…” (172). Cunningham analyzes the various reasonings behind the smiling women throughout our history and the world. For example, she reports that the Japanese smile is often conveyed to hide sadness. This smile was often expressed in their history if a wife's husband was a samurai who died in battle. She notes that, “Women are expected to smile no matter where they line up on the social, cultural, or economic ladder” (174). Cunningham goes into further detail on the trademarked American smile. She discovers that social pressures on women to continually smile began with the advertising of smiling females. Eventually, this lead the smiling woman

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