Gender Roles In Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart Essay

Long ago, and even till today women are systematically discriminated against, we are considered “half citizen” they were seen as subservient and placed in inferior positions. Gender roles are determined by culture, social norms, ideologies, fairy tale and the Bible, etc. From the beginning of our life, since birth the gender separates the path which we youngling will take. Boys are mentally segregated from females by their parents telling them they have to be strong, not show emotions, and to suck it up when life turns for the worse, they get toys such as trucks, action figures, things that cool and dangerous portray and prepare.

Girls on the other hand are treated sweetly and gently, because they are considered fragile. Not to say male aren’t treated as such but they get less of “special” treatment. Girls are princesses who can’t brake a nail. The toys girls receive are typically dolls, with nice colors or other fragile sensitive items like flowers and such. The initiation of a life is the essential factor which determines the direction of the younglings’ mental state of mind. “Because I am female, I am expected to aspire to marriage. I am expected to make my life choices always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important.

Now marriage can be a source of joy and love and mutual support but why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage and we don’t teach boys the same? “- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. As a Nigerian female, I can relate too well, expected to be successful but not too much, just so the suitors are not scared off of an intimidating powerful female, and more importantly, fall in love. Get married and have children before you can be considered a woman. Even after the lady does get married, she is still weak with power always to obey her husband.

The ever existing stereotype of how a women’s job is in the kitchen because that is what they amount too, man would just love for a lady to be there taking care of the problems of the house. They disregard of how bright and well educated the women may be, or how successful she can become. She is supposed to be submissive and do as she’s told, her success is to be appealing to the most successful male. As far as any problems go, she will take the blame. The man is “too knowledgeable and superior” to be wrong and take the fall.

While on the other hand, from the male perspective they will find themselves successful either way and aren’t obligated to worry about a female because she will come with their success. Men are exposed to less pressure of getting married, until they begin to age. Which reminds me of the poem “The Odysseus”, where the lady character, Penelope had to decide on a new husband from the group of random suitors after a brief period of a few years of her true love missing. Assuming her husband has to be dead; without evidence, faith or hope, her people expect her to move on or else she isn’t complete.

How less of a woman she is without a man. From the poem Odysseus, Penelope was pressured by her society to choose a suitor, she didn’t have a say about the matter, but she did however own the cleverness and cunning to stall the decision long enough to remain faithful upon the return of the one man she chose with her own will long ago. If Telemachus was to be born a female, I believe he wouldn’t have the privilege of being an uprising hero or be worthy enough to be called his “father’s daughter” let alone see and communicate with Athena the god of war.

Which is also ironic that she’s a goddess yet the most “Warlord” of all the gods, aren’t man supposed to be the most powerful and more vicious then the ladies? But because she not a female human, she’s the all-powerful that war hungry. She wouldn’t have been able to fight the suitors at the end with his father. It is very rare to see a female figure at war, and even if you do see one she probably there to nurture or feed the wounded “Male war warriors” The maids in the poem “The Odysseus” were killed at the end, after cleaning up the dead suitors.

They were hang, because they were sleeping with the suitor, left for a slower painful death. While the suitor who messed with the house and Penelope for over a decade were killed at a faster pace. Were they spare the long lasting pain because they were male? And do the maid really have a choice of not sleeping with the men’s? They are just female domestic servant, a lower statue than a house wife. Knowing this, they really can’t say no in my opinion. They just have to agree to a more “superior being” that are the males.

Telemachus said he wouldn’t let the women die a clean death, for they were disrespectful to him and his mother, and used to sleep with the suitors. They were treated like half humans. The book “Things fall apart” also support the idea that women are treated like second class citizen. They are looked down upon, perceived as weak minded. They are given little to no respect and harshly abused. Their responsibilities’ in the society is to bear children, cook for their husbands, clean and assist the men on their farms.

Even though they do all these jobs, they are not very well appreciated or given credit. In the book, a man name Okonkwo, who was a village fighter, married three women which is seen as a good thing in his culture. Men like Okonkwo, who are able to provide for more than one wife and his children are considered great men who are worthy of great respect from the neighbors. He treated his wives with no respect and he is incredibly short tempered with them. He is allowed to physically abuse his wives in his culture.

There were two instances where he beats his second wife, for the most unreasonable reasons, one because she wasn’t around to make him his meal, he was punish only because it was the week of peace, and everyone was supposed to be at peace with each other. No violent were allowed during that week. The other reason was because she referred to him as a person whose guns never shot. He then beat her mercilessly, again. Because he had paid her dowry off, he believes he has every power over her. When he also violated the law by accidently killing a kid, and had to move to his mother homeland Mbanta for seven years as his punishment.

It was a sorrowful and bitter time for him. “A man has both joy and sorrow in his life and when the bad times come his “mother” is always there to comfort him. ” Thus comes the saying “Mother is Supreme”. This also prove that a women isn’t supreme, if she doesn’t have any kid children and especially not married. Unmarried women with children are look down upon in this society. For a woman to be considered supreme, either though she is treated as such, she has to have the able to cook, care and always ready to accept her children regardless of wrong doings.

Historically Women have always being treated like a second class citizen. Be it lower pay compare to a men, in 2012, female full-time workers made 77 cents for every dollar earned by men, a 23 percent gap. Women’s are considered girls who are just earning some pin money, instead of as real workers who have real jobs, as men are treated. There are lesser women in the government, because of the stereotypes. If a woman is outspoken, she get called bossy or over bearing but on the other hand if a man is outspoken he’s just doing his job.

Taking care of the home and kids are woman’s job. All these stereotyping has made women see each other as competitors. When the best thing to do is to support and empower so that they can build reinforcing for their worth fight to become first class citizens. We need to work together to break the supposedly gender norm role that women have to be a certain way. Masculinity doesn’t necessary have to be associated with dominance, strength or aggression, neither does feminine role be associated with passivity or nurturing.