Women 's Lack Of Respect For Female Characters

862 WordsJan 26, 20174 Pages
In Sherman Alexie’s Flight, female characters are objectified and reduced to simple roles because their primary purpose in the narrative is to display their sexuality for the gratification of the men. Before his affair is revealed, Jimmy is seduced by his young lover: “Jimmy sits on the floor. He grabs a piece of fried chicken, a leg, and takes a bite. It’s a little dry. So, okay, Helda isn’t much of a cook. But that’s okay. That’s perfectly okay. Because she turns on a CD player and starts dancing. She dances for Jimmy! Dances for me!” (Alexie 116). The passage is a representation of the book’s lack of respect for female characters because Alexie relegates Helda to a place of little significance in order to create more space for Jimmy.…show more content…
It is even worse when the female characters are openly disrespected by the thoughts of the male characters. The value judgments of Helda through the descriptions reinforce the narrative’s male gaze because Helda’s worth as a human is evaluated by her ability to provide others with food and sex. Helda, along with most other women in this story, do not have complex emotions or backgrounds, and the fleeting glimpses into their existences are nearly exclusively related to an interaction with a man. Since women do not have a role apart from their male counterparts, how they are viewed is essential to understanding the women themselves. Unfortunately, women are valued with confining and stereotypically feminine attributes, like being sexy and good cooks. It is “okay” that Helda’s chicken is dry; she can be forgiven because she’s hot when she dances “for” Jimmy. Jimmy and Zits perceive Helda’s actions as solely existing for their pleasure, hence the “for,” and they base her worth on her effect on others, without any regard to her own individual humanity. The male gaze in this book is egregious, to a truly absurd degree, because women are never allowed to be their own people; their entire existences revolve around the presence, thoughts, and criticisms of men. In addition to the content of the passage, the form also propagates the notion that women only exist to bring pleasure to nearby men. Nearly every
Open Document