The Great Gatsby written by F. Scott Fitzgerald written in 1920’s criticizes the new woman by promoting patriarchy. Thought the story The Great Gatsby criticizes the new woman by displaying Feminist ideologies. The ideologies are as follows: Patriarchy, a society in which men hold most power: Traditional Gender Roles, where women are weak, emotional, while men are strong, and decisive: Good Girls/Bad Girls is where women who obey the traditional gender roles are “angels” while women who disobey them are displayed as “bad girls”. The Great Gatsby criticizes the new woman.
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The Great Gatsby promotes patriarchy by criticizing the new women. The men hold most power such as when Tom Buchanan “broke her nose with his open hand”(41).Since Myrtle disobeyed Tom he was “forced” to slap her to put her back into her traditional gender roles which is to obey the men and to be weak .During the 1920’s the men tried to do anything to keep their women in place, they will even keep their “wife’s locked in up there”(143). Mr. Wilson locked up his wife in their room because she was out of control. Myrtle was cheating on Wilson and he found out and as a result to that he locked her in. women are treated like dogs and the men are like their owners. Another example of the new woman being controlled by patriarchy happens at one of Gatsby’s parties. The wife and husband were having an argument about leaving the party when “the dispute end[s] in a short struggle and both wives were lifted kicking into the night”(57).Men have control over the women and the women have no choice but to do what the men say. This scene makes women appear to be weak and inferior to the men.
Women who disobey the traditional gender roles often get displayed in such a bad way such as the tragic accident with Myrtle. When Myrtle was killed “her left breast was swinging loose like a flap”(145). Myrtle was displayed like this because she did not follow the traditional gender rules and she is an example
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of what happens when you disobey them. Traditional Gender Roles display women as weak and emotional which The Great Gatsby criticizes. In the novel Daisy is very emotional and often times she is seen crying. For example in the scene where Daisy was about to get married to Tom but, she “beg[in]s to cry”(81). Since Daisy is a women she is very sensitive which a sign of weakness toward the women.
The women during this time are left to think of themselves as inferior to the men. They are so used to being pushed around that when Daisy finds out she’s having a girl she is glad and “she hopes she’ll be a fool-that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool”(21). It seems as though Daisy is used to seeing women being treated differently and that’s how her daughter is going to be treated but it is a good thing. Daisy is saying that basically all women are fools that’s it. Daisy is emotionally weak. When Nick and Jordan were driving home from Gatsby’s party he examines Jordan’s behavior and later determines that “dishonesty in women is a thing you could never blame deeply [he] was casually sorry, and then forgot”(63). Nick is basically saying that a woman is like a child that doesn’t k now any better therefore you cant blame them for their actions. The Great Gatsby belittles women and portrays them as not knowing better.
Another example would be when Tom buys Myrtle a dog and refers to the dogas a “bitch”(32). When Tom is paying the dog owner the money he gives him the money and says “go and buy ten more dogs with it”(32). It seems that Tom is comparing the dog to women because he refers to the dog as a bitch, he could have just said a girl but, instead he uses that term. When he used that term no one said anything not even Myrtle. She didn’t find it offensive how he talks about girls even though it’s a dog. He is basically saying that with ten dollars you can buy a lot more than what the “bitch” is worth. Tom makes the omen feel small compared to the men.
The Great Gatsby also criticizes the new women and categorizes them as good girls/bad girls. Daisy is seen as both a good girl and a bad girl. When Gatsby went to Daisy’s house she “told him she loved him, and Tom Buchanan saw”(125). In this case Daisy is a bad girl because
she is not fallowing the traditional gender roles of a women which is listening to their husbands. A good girl would not cheat on her husband and better yet not say she loves another man in front of her husband. The Great Gatsby criticizes the new women because they portray Daisy in such a bad manner, that would make women look bad. In one of Gatsby’s parties “one of the gypsies seizes a cocktail” and “mov[es] her hands like a frisco dances out alone”(45). This lady was making a fool out of herself by not fallowing the traditional gender roles. The lady was acting like a bad girl because she was drinking and a good girl would not do that. The Great Gatsby doesn’t portray the men as bad people when they are drinking, on the other hand women are being criticized for it.
When Daisy is with Gatsby we see another example of Daisy being a bad girl. Gatsby “lit Daisy’s ciggarete”and daisy started smoking. Once again Daisy is being criticized because a good girl doesn’t knot smoke and doesn’t not talk to other men while being married. Women are more harshly criticized in the novel in comparison to the men. After the death of Wilson and Myrtle the sister Catherine arrived but, “she was stupid with liquor”(164). Once again the women is badly criticized for drinking alcohol she is referred in a bad Way for drinking. Catherine is also a bad girl because she is drinking and she shouldn’t since she is a women.
Patriarchy in our society today is still present. In many cultures people often find it weird that a mother works instead of being at home cleaning and being with the kids. Our society is not understanding and accepting of women being independent. In the tory we see that women are criticized for drinking and today women who drink are categorized as dirty or unmannered girls. Our society is criticizes women and promotes patriarchy.See More on F. Scott Fitzgerald, Literature