The Appearance And Actions Of Women

1240 WordsJan 15, 20155 Pages
“A southern belle was a girl who was expected to grow up into a lady. She was supposed to be fragile and flirtatious...beautiful...up-to-date on the latest fashions” (Charles R. Wilson). The appearance and actions of women were harshly critiqued in the early 1900s. If a woman did not fit the social norm, she was treated as an outcast. In the novel To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Scout, a young tomboy, is criticised by her older neighbors and relatives for her boyish appearance, but she is accepted by outcasts like herself, and by people who disagree with what is expected of women. Through methods of characterization, Harper Lee reveals that social expectations are an unfair requirement of individuals. Scout reveals the expectations…show more content…
Scout also acknowledges society’s prefered appearance of women. Beautiful women, and women who present themselves appropriately are treated with more respect than those with less class. When Scout’s family gathers for Christmas, Scout’s cousin, Francis informs Scout that his grandmother is going to teach him how to cook. Scout responds, “‘Boys don’t cook’”(109). Scout exposes the belief that women belong in the kitchen and men belong at work. The role of women was at home to do domestic chores, and a man doing a woman’s job was absurd. Scout continues to tell her cousin that she does not want her husband “‘waitin’ on me...I’d rather wait on him’”(109). Scout shares the idea that women are supposed to serve their husband and take care of him. With what Scout says, she exposes the standards that society expects of women. The older, more sophisticated members of Maycomb society believe that social standards are necessary, and they strictly enforce these rules upon Scout. Mrs. Henry Lafayette Dubose, an elderly woman who lives near Scout, is upset by Scout’s lack of refinement. When Scout offers Mrs. Dubose a greeting, Mrs. Dubose angrily replies, “‘Don’t you say hey to me, you ugly girl! You say good afternoon, Mrs. Dubose!’”(133). Mrs. Dubose detests Scout’s carefree attitude. Mrs. Dubose would prefer Scout to speak politely because she believes that proper women must act with respect. Scout’s Aunt
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