When I first was proposed this question, my answer was simple. No. Men and women are not equal, not in today’s society, and who knows how long it will be until men and women are completely and truly equal. However, because the subject caught my eye, I decided to research into the question. Using a variety of resources, I was able to find a new answer to the question through changed thoughts.
From the Great Gatsby, I was able to find interesting resources that illustrated and pertained to my question. It was obvious that the women in the Great Gatsby were treated much worse than the men. For example, Tom was cheating on Daisy with Myrtle, yet due to the social status women, there was nothing that Daisy, nor Myrtle, could do. This made me realize that men and women are not equal due to “delegated” powers that society authorizes towards men.
Another example from the Great Gatsby that further illustrates this inequality and how men have certain powers and authorities over women comes from pages 125-127. “Making a short deft movement, Tom Buchanan broke her nose with his open hand.” This altercation was after Mrs. Wilson was calling for Daisy, and Tom, fed up with her calling, swung his fist and broke her nose. Something so harmless and feeble as calling for a friend was met with violence because of the gender of Mrs. Wilson and Daisy. I began to wonder, had the roles been reversed, would there still be such an altercation?
This was not the end of the occurrences of the gender inequality. Other examples were more subtle, such as, at the beginning of the book, Nick referring to Daisy and Tom as only the Tom Buchanans, as though Daisy does not even exist. Although Daisy is Nick’s cousin, and Tom was only recently Nick’s friend, the difference in social standing between men and women led Nick to completely disregard Daisy. This, once again, illustrated the vast differences between men and women.
However, although the Great Gatsby provided some great examples, I was still not completely convinced as the book itself was created in a specific time period by a specific author who holds specific thoughts. Therefore, I looked elsewhere, in my AP English Composition book, for more evidence.
Using this composition book, I found further evidence to my claims. In the series of letters between John and Abigail Adams, the Second President and his First Lady, it was obvious that the sexual differences were drastic. After assuming office, Abigail would write to John about her complaints and possible reforms towards the rights and equality of women. Nevertheless, John Adams simply ignored these requests and even scolded Abigail. Still, John Adams received many requests from poorer and less elite men and granted many of these requests. This not only shows the superiority of men over women during this age and thus their oblivious inequality, but also the idea that such socially elite women would be ignored while the socially poor men would be acknowledged.
Another example of the inequality among men and women is evident in Brian Tannenbaum’s “Coeducational Schools,” in which he states that “girls’ brains are wired differently and boys dominate teacher time in coeducational schools.” This demonstrates, not only the social image of women as mentally different, but also the attention that men get as opposed to women regarding education. So, not only are women finding it harder to get an education, but when they do, they must take a back seat to men.
Through my English textbook, I was able to learn more about the inequality and the different situations that this sexual prejudice can occur. Still, in order to affirm my answer to the question, I wanted to find one more resource. And for me, what better resource would there be than reality itself?
Through my personal experiences and my life, I have observed that women are not equal to men. This is obvious from school, in which they integrate Dress Codes for girls in order to not dress inappropriately. These Dress Codes also apply for boys, but they are much more lenient and less strictly enforced.
Another incident of this inequality between men and women is among the social world. In society, men and women both have their own social images and specific expectations that they must meet. In my opinion, the social expectations that women are “required” to meet are much more harsh than those of men. Women must look a certain way, be a certain height, weigh a certain weight, etc. Men also have these standards, but the deviation for men is greater. However, as I thought about these social standards, I began to think more about other expectations that men have as opposed to women. Men must be chivalrous, provide for the women, etc. This slightly changed my answer.
And now, for my final answer. Overall, women and men are obviously not equal. This was illustrated through the Great Gatsby, my English composition textbook, and reality/society. However, the difference between men and women is decreasing as time passes and we recognize these problems. Also, it is not that women are the only ones being discriminated against; men also have certain problems that they face as well, but overall, women have been given less respect in history and even today. Still, I believe we can look towards a more positive future regarding this sexual equality as time passes.