Sunday, March 4, 2012

Gender Roles.

Carla Ruiz
In society, still to this day, there are certain roles that men and women are “supposed” to follow. Men are seen as the superior ones and women are the nurtures, the sexual object, and are beautiful. In the movie Gamer and book “The Surrogates” both men and women have certain roles that seem to reflect on our own viewings. Women have progressed from being the housewife to the ones who are mainly going off to college now instead of men. Though women have advanced as much as they have, society still views them as an object who care what people think about their image. Men also have that pedestal that they need to be the masculine type of guy. Since society has a way in viewing men and women, most movies and books capture it.
Women in the movie, Gamer, were either seen as a sexual object, a gossiper, or someone who was seen as perfect due to their physical appearance. In the virtual world of Gamer, women were dressed in vulgar outfits that someone else would pick. Though these women had no control to what they were doing, men had no hesitance in picking revealing outfits. It’s not surprising to see this type of attitude since today’s music videos women barely have any clothing on when dancing in the background of the superior male artist. The only woman that seemed to have any sense of power was one who was a ‘gossiper’. She had a high status since she did have her own television show. However, though she might have had her own television show, being a ‘gossiper’ seemed to be a role society believed fit this woman. Throughout the movie of the Gamer, there’d be women flashing their breasts or wearing ensembles that would barely cover their bodies. It didn’t seem as if they were doing anything out of the ordinary since it seemed like the ‘normal’ thing to do. In this society being seen as a sexual object, a gossiper, or someone with a perfect appearance, was normal. However, it seems as this society had its roles for their women, something that seems to become parallel to the book, “The Surrogates.”
In the book “The Surrogates” there seemed to be two things women worried about, their image and feeling less superior to men. In the book, surrogates were basically robots in the skin of humans. You had complete control over them and were able to pick how you looked. In the end of the book, the lieutenants’ wife becomes so depressed at the fact that she won’t have her surrogate any longer that she decided to over dose and end her life. The beauty of her surrogate and the ability to look amazing without any work was so important that she ended her own life.
Women in today’s society have a certain image they have to achieve. With things like photo shop and beauty competitions’ like toddlers and tiaras and Miss America, it is no wonder that the roles of women have changed. Women are now put on a pedestal to look like a woman on a billboard, without flaws thanks to photo shop. Competitions like toddlers and tiaras train little girls to thinking appearance and beauty is everything. From there most go off into other competitions hen older like Miss America. Something that is always seen in competitions is the load of make up and a bathing suit contest. So image becomes a factor that becomes difficult to ignore. This way of thinking appears in Gamer and The Surrogates as well. Women try to do anything to achieve a look society has made. Women roles have become different as well because of society.
Men in both Gamer and “The Surrogates” have it difficult as well. Just how women have to put up with the roles of society of being an object worried about appearance, men have the role of being the strong, successful man. In Gamer, men were seen as tough, wealthy, and smart investors. In “The Surrogates”, men were successful and also worried about their body image as well.
In the movie Gamer, it was no surprise to see men as strong and wealthy. The main guy, the inventor, was a white male and wealthy. The ‘criminal’ was seen as the strong guy who just wanted his family back. It seemed like a typical male role, fighting for the ones you love and care for, when the inventor and criminal fought for every other person to start living a human, normal life. Both these men had a viewing as strong, a role that all men should have. Just last week, I was at the CSUN gym to obverse. Almost automatically, I saw mainly females on the treadmills and the males lifting the weights. Being looked upon as strong has become a role for males. Men, just like women, now worry about their physical appearance because of all the advertisements of what one should look like. Even in movies, just like Gamer, males are strong, giving the ‘regular’ males more motives to work on their appearance. Ones image, whether male or female, becomes something one cant ignore when everywhere you look, from billboards to movies, there is someone with that ‘perfect’ body.
The book, “The Surrogates” is not so different from the movie the Gamer. I “The Surrogates” the main defenders were agents, who are strong, yet have body issues and is a male dominance. The sergeant was overly excited when he found out he could upgrade to another surrogate, having even more control in how he looked like. All of the agents who were working were surrogates with a young body that was able to do whatever task came to hand. Something that really shocked me in this book was when the CEO was announced. The CEO was to be seen as a male called Victor. When the lieutenant gets a hold of the CEO, it is revealed that the male is really a female, Victoria. Just like in todays society, females feel less superior to men because of history. Males have always been seen as the dominant one who has complete power. This is why Victoria was seen as Victor, so the rest of the community would feel safe. Though we might not notice the way roles control our daily lives, books and movies seem to capture it.
Though we may have certain roles to achieve even before one is born, we can always change that. Women were once seen as objects and the nurtures and now they are becoming something in the world and some may say they don’t need the male in their lives. Just like women, men have been able to overcome certain obstacles; they don’t need to always feel so masculine. Even though men and women do go through a lot with roles, it is always important to know that a role doesn’t define whom we are. Most importantly we shouldn’t let what others perceive as beauty influence the way we feel about ourselves. 


  1. I totally agree with you in our world today woman aren’t seen as the one who stays at home with the kids but as an object of beauty. The media especially put a lot magazine covers, pictures television shoes of what the perfect woman should look like pressuring woman to look like one of those woman on TV or the cover of a magazine. Although those woman themselves don’t even look like that they get a little help from photo shop which hides all of their flaws. But still targeting woman to look like a certain way and mostly causing damage to females, and especially to the young teens who look up to these woman they see on television or movies and covers of magazines. Men also don’t have it as easy as you said in your essay how they are portrayed as the ‘Hero’ and masculine type of guy. I also agree with you when you mention that when you go to the gym you mostly see the guys lifting the weights and the girls on the treadmills. When I think about it now I also see that when I go to the gym mostly all the guys are off to the right in the weightlifting section lifting weights trying to get that masculine body that society portrays that a real man should have. It’s pretty sad to think that a lot of women and men are hurting themselves to get that right body image that society portrays on us.

  2. I agree with what you said about the obsession with one's image. It is true that society portraits the perfect male image as tall and muscular, and females as being thin with a pretty face. When we watch tv or see bilboards on the streets, we hardly ever see fat people. I too have been to the gym and noticed the males lifting weights and females on the treadmills. The way people perceive someone's beauty is based heavily upon what society has taught them; pretty and thin, or tall and muscular.

  3. I really like your comparison of the surrogate robot to software programs like Photoshop. Both are ways for people to "construct" one's identity.

    I wonder if you should focus your thesis on this idea of construction, and then saying books and movies help reinforce this identity construction. You already give great examples as evidence of this phenomenon. The gym is another great example. Men lift weights to gain muscle, a type of construction. Women want a "toned" look, so they run endlessly on a treadmill to construct that perfect shape. Isn't this a construction? And who are they constructing their bodies for? Themselves or others?

    Your essay is strong as is, but I think by answering those above questions may help you formulate your thesis (or controlling idea) that we are all constructing ourselves, and either pop culture or something else is dictating how to create that construction. Surrogates and Gamer are good to bring in as examples of fictional settings that express these same ideas.