Which Would You Choose; Beauty or Brains?

I am going to start off by saying that I have never been a huge feminist, I understand where they are coming from, but I never really believed in the cause until more recently. Through this project I have been able to uncover some pretty startling research that has changed my opinion on the subject; objectification. Health teachers always said that the media is preying on young girls teaching them to change their bodies to match the imagery displayed through magazines and TV yada yada – it’s just one of those things that you can buy into or not, yeah those magazines may be telling you ways to slim down for the summer and don’t eat to much over the holiday’s, but if we are being realistic, lets look at the childhood obesity rates in America and decide if they are preying or teaching.

ANYWAYS, objectification is the recognizing of a person (specifically women) as less than a being. This is a huge issue is our society today as well as 150 years ago. GWTW is a perfect example of this. The entire introduction of the book objectifies women, from Mammy saying “you can have time to get to know the guy and show him your brains after marriage-put on a pretty face now and by the time he realizes your a human being its too late for him to get rid of you anyways” to the Mitchell explaining how Ellen tried getting all of Gerald (Scarlett’s father) out of Scarlett, wanting to rid any unfeminine traits to appeal more to men. The women in the story and women today are being objectified, the southern women in the novel to nothing more as pretty figures in corsets and petticoats, fainting and faking in order to catch a man’s attention-because how dare a woman be smarter than a man.

In a study I found here it talks about how the more skin a woman shows the less a man thinks she is less capable of intelligent thought. And saying that men are the only ones who think this is a wrong assumption because everyone does it. I believe this is the number one cause for “suppression” of women in society.

The sick yet seemingly realistic question comes to mind “Would you rather have beauty or brains?”

~~~~~Also I don’t really have time to think more about this right now but I found a man’s perspective on this subject and I didn’t want to loose the site so here it is!

It’s Harder Than You Think

“One of the exhilarating aspects of war, in Gone with the Wind, is that, in plunging the world into crisis, it releases women from the confining rules and petty obsessions of everyday life. Scarlett hasn’t got time to worry about whether we love her or not; she drops the coquette act, then trots it out occasionally, only to have Rhett or Mammy call her bluff. War justifies her masculinization; crisis allows women to shed ladylike passivity and come into their own as competent agents.”

~Molly Haskell (Frankly, My Dear: Gone With the Wind Revisited)

I really love this quote. In three simple sentences Haskell enlightens the feature of my paper. Scarlett contains to much of her father in her, she is masculine and rough-n-tumble and that is why so many people love this book.  Scarlett is able to use the war to her advantage, explore her true self behind the innocent being she pretended to be before.Within the first one hundred pages the book states that Scarlett must hide herself in order to get a husband, because men don’t want a woman who appears smarter then them and once they realize their wife is smarter or wittier then themselves, well it’s too late now, their stuck with them.  A strong independent woman could never show her true colors because it would seemingly damage her image to men. The book then illuminates the scene in which  Scarlett goes to the barbecue, in the unwavering mindset that in order for Ashley to take her she must faint and act innocent and act infantile. The next truth Mitchell states is that if Scarlett would have acted like the strong, witty, smart woman she was, it would have been more attractive than any other disguise she wore that day. If there is anything I have learned from my mother it is that the cream will ALWAYS rise to the top and that in order to gain respect in this world you must respect yourself.

Scarlett didn’t respect herself and she didn’t gain it from other people until she threw her true self in their faces and demanded it.

Scarlett spent her life playing a game. She squeezes her waist into a 17 inch corset, doesn’t eat, relies on her flirtation and plays dumb to get men, which many would be seen as anti-feminism, becoming the person society expects. Haskell on the other hand sees opposite as do I.  She states that Scarlett was a “fierce go-your-own-way survivor”; she was! Past her femininity, rouge, and corsets, she was a woman who desired more than just a quiet dumbed down life, she needed passion and wit to survive. The NY times reviews Haskell’s book here and really dives into what Haskell’s book is all about and how Scarlett represented the “adolescent tomboy”, interested more in climbing trees than learning the techniques in being an abiding southern woman.

Opposites Attract?

This post is going to be a whirl wind of blog thought but I feel as if I am coming to a breakthrough so I am just going to spill out my ideas and research findings so I can make sense of it all in the rough draft-sorry if this post is a maze.

I really love finding foil characters within stories and Gone With the Wind has many.  Scarlett’s attraction to both Rhett and Ashley is surprising; the lady’s man and the scholar. They foil each other not only through psychological attributes but physical characteristics as well.  Ashely is blonde and light and good and constantly in another world though Rhett is dark and spirited and aware. Ashley is completely foreign to Scarlett, “not like the other boys” which is where her attraction stems from. On the other side of the spectrum Rhett is independent and strong and powerful, everything Scarlett aspires to be. She is manipulative and selfish and cruel because she believes that these are the traits that make you powerful, which ultimately did in the business world, but she remained far from it in the world of love.  She wanted Ashley because he was different and she knew that she could never have him. She wanted Rhett at first out of admiration and in the end because of her realization that she did love him and the she would have to win him back again. Scarlett is not a character, a being, who can settle with normality and happiness, after her experience in the Civil War, she had to arouse  a battle because she loved the fight, the chase, the game, whatever you want to call it. This obsession led her to her demise in the end of the story, though her ultimate realization that land and the concept which land is the core of life. It is living and yet it is resolute in location though ever changing in situation (again bringing up a point from a previous post).

Back to foil characters, Melanie and Scarlett are another perfect example. Scarlett is manipulative, selfish, cruel, and very passionate. Melanie on the other hand is an example of the pre-modern woman, she is soft, genteel, and kind, everything Scarlett is not. Scarlett doesn’t want children though has the full capabilities to deliver them, while Melanie gave up her life in an attempt to have more. Melanie’s compassion is why Scarlett and Ashley both love her and why Scarlett could never be with Ashley. For this entire post I used the site here for reference, it is probably the most helpful site I have found this while time while blogging. And as a side note, thanks for sticking through this post I know it was confusing but letting my brain spew helped immensely in figuring out what I would like to say in my paper!

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

I really like the idea of self respect; living life according to yourself and not others. I believe this is an important concept to self fulfillment and prosperity that is often times absent in modern day society, though is a strong theme throughout Gone With the Wind. Without a doubt, Tara, her childhood home, acts as a looking glass for Scarlett, mirroring the ups and downs of her life in its land while similarly acting as symbol of herself. It was built up from the hands of her father (his slaves) without money or reputation-the “Southern” American Dream- and that is how Scarlett based her life.  She was beautiful and innocent with the land, grew destroyed yet stronger through the war and eventually grew up. She met many struggles while the land did the same, and in the end went back to Tara to build up her life, build up the land, and gain redemption. Tara is one of the few beings in the world which she respected and when she realized this concept of her soul being with the land, she gained respect for herself.

Along with the abstract approach to self respect I would also like to touch on the human rights issues of self respect (I think). I believe if I could find a way to do it smoothly bringing in the racism seen within the book as well as the concepts of feminism would be really cool. I found an interesting article here that talks about how Gone With the Wind is a good and bad representation of Feminism, though how Rhett and Scarlett remain outside the bubble of social prejudices seen during that civil war time.

Say What?!

This past week I didn’t get a chance to read any farther in my senior exit project book, though I was able to research some for my paper.  Through my searching I was able to find a site that touches on the racist attitude which Gone With the Wind displayed.  Though my paper isn’t on racism it was interesting to see the controversy of the black woman represented in the story and that site can be seen here, (this site also compares and contrasts the book to the movie).  I was also able to find another site that looks at both sides of the feminist controversy and though the article does tend to take you in a bit of a circle it was non the less interesting to read and this site can be found here. I also really enjoyed the ending comment about the stories obvious lack of a happy ending, though historically inaccurate the book does offer a startling realistic look on human motives and the cause and effect of choices which I really enjoy.  Take that Nicholas Sparks and Stephanie Meyer.

I was also able to locate a site that talks about though Scarlett may not be a role model she displays aspects of her personality that would be considered more masculine, not gentle enough to be traits of women. Access that site here. This site also elaborates on how though the Scarlett’s moral revolve more around keeping herself and family safe, she still remains a powerful, possibly heroic, character.

My love of Scarlett comes from her ability to change her situation in life no matter the consequences; she will liv the life she wants, and she never gives up.  As Rhett Butler walks out the door Scarlett is already planning how to get him back, and it’s and alluring idea.

To go along with this research, I just remembered the book Vanity Fair and though the books contain completely separate ideas I would like to think that I would be able to bring it in as another source (as a side not I have already read the book). I am also planing on reading The Awakening by Kate Chopin – its a short book and would be nice to have as an additional source that contains equally controversial ideas.

Busy as a Bee

So I have been very busy lately and getting to my 900 page book of Gone With the Wind has been a challenge for me.  I am on page 200, and the book itself is easy to read, it’s just very long!  So far I have definitely found some points which I would like to expand upon with the main theme going farther than just feminism.  I would like to fully detail what feminism consists of, relating self respect to my overall concept.  To further enhance this point I would also like to read The Awakening, by Kate Chopin. This novella also amplifies this point in that in order for a woman to gain respect she must first respect herself. I feel as if this topic would be easy to turn around and accidentally find myself fighting against the point I am going to try and make.  Ultimately, where do you draw the line between feminism and the expectations of society meaning, is it demeaning for a man to hold a door for a woman and why do feminists say yes. Isn’t he just following a kindness code, or is it something greater than that, signifying a weakness in woman.  I am excited about this project, but I am worried that I might lose my theme and unless I develop strong points, it will be hard to follow my argument through the whole paper.

Overall this project is proving to be difficult, in that it is hard for me to find time to read as well as research for other resources while keeping up with my other studies and work.  I am hoping that with the end of February comes the end of my busy schedule!

I’ll Tell you What I Want

For my senior exit project I really wanted to find a book that was filled with themes and symbols and motifs, which led me straight to Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell.  I have seen the movie and was very interested in reading the novel.  Within this story you are able to see the South through its many changes ranging from wealth to destruction.  This not only allows you to see the changes in the landscape and the society as a whole, but Mitchell shows you the specific changes of a singular character, Scarlet, and her journey through the Civil War.  This novel also gives you a look into the intelligence of women within this time period and the importance of their strength.

For my research paper I think I would like to explore the rising idea of feminism in that time and its effect on the characters as well as the society as whole.  I would also like to elaborate on Scarlet’s growth and how the civil war not only gave slaves their independence but also forced women into theirs.  I believe that the many cultural and societal changes that take place within this story are important in displaying the development of the ideals that our country thrives on today.  I would also like to explore character development and how their backgrounds can potentially be compared and contrasted with the varying beliefs that existed in that time.  Similarly I wanted to investigate the differences offered in the locations within the story from calm and peaceful Tara, to large bustling Atlanta.  I think these concepts could lead me to a dense paper exploring the background of huge concepts.

Barnes and Noble Update

SO I made my way to Barnes & Noble today to return the book The Invisible Man, as it turns out, and as I am sure many others have discovered, there are two Invisible Men.  Little did I know as I went to return my book, that the amount of days you have to return a book to Barnes & Noble is fourteen days and how many days do you think I had this book-thats right-15 days.  Don’t ever expect you can charm your way into a return-book worms are vicious.

Rise of the Senior Exit Project

SO I am a little stuck as to what I want to do for my Senior Exit Project. What to read? Who or what to write about? I am just a collaboration of different thoughts.  I thought for a while that I wanted to do Jane Austen and one of her books but that seems to be way too (overplayed).  Then possibly Dumas and one of his books [3 Musketeers or Count of M.C.] but again his books seem a little typical and how would I grow on one of those.  I really want to read the book Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, and that seems to be a good choice-but I still have yet to read the book.  This is a huge choice and I am feeling a little crazed, mad-hatter-esque, so I guess I will just wait to see how everything plays out…..

Also sorry, I just realized the useless-ness of this post.

LMNOPencil

 The relevance you ask? They’re pencils; obviously a tool you write with and this blog was created for a semi-reading semi-writing class; more explanation needed?
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