Critical Essay on Gender Roles in the Great Gatsby

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  4
Wordcount:  1019 Words
Date:  2022-10-10


Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby is viewed through a feminist perspective. It shows how women in their twenties were depicted within literature. Fitzgerald illustrates this by including gender roles and patriarchy controls. These ideas are illustrated through the lives of his characters, including Tom, Daisy and Nick, Jordan, George and Myrtle. Fitzgerald is one the most influential feminist writers of his generation, but he didn't realize how important they would be to society. These roles are often demonstrated in the lives of Daisy and Myrtle. As the story progresses, Daisy and Myrtle gradually become marginalized. They fade into the pages when the men push their voices aside.

Methods of Advanced Literary Studies reveals that women in the story are marginalized because they are not heard as much from men. The story's women are forced to conform to social feminist norms. This is evident in the way Daisy and Myrtle depend on men and can't do everything by themselves. Cross Reference Project says Jordan Baker is the only character who can resist social norms. She does this by not relying on men to care for her. The Great Gatsby portrays women as fragile, weak, and emotional beings. They are seen as worthless and useless if they become a commodity. Daisy is an example of this, as she is a commodity to Tom and Gatsby. She is a trophy wife for Tom, but she's only there to steal the show.

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Gatsby uses Daisy to show that he finally has everything. Although they claim to love Daisy, these two men fight over her. However, their intentions for the relationship are different. The audience learns that both men wanted to claim that Daisy was their "golden girl" and that they were not the only ones who did. Another aspect of feminism that is prevalent throughout the book is the way that men view women as property. This is evident in Tom's relationship with Myrtle. Tom will buy Myrtle whatever she wants in order to please him. Tom believes he can get any woman as long as he's able to afford it. This relationship merely reflects men's views towards women. This portrays men as strong, reliable, intelligent, etc.

This is evident in the lives of Nick, Gatsby and Tom. Tom is dependable and has a lot of money. Gatsby is strong by standing up for his girl, even in the face of difficulties. Nick's job as a politician shows his intelligence. Gender roles were not as complicated in the 20s. NCpedia states that men were expected to manage business and politics, while women had to take care of the home, children, and religion. The Great Gatsby also contains a number of patriarchy controls. It shows that women within the twenties were oppressed socially, economically, politically and psychologically.Women were oppressed socially by not being able to speak their voice. Because women in those days had a lower mentality than men, their answers and opinions were often deemed useless. This is illustrated in the book when Myrtle couldn't speak out about Daisy and was not punished by Tom. The Great Gatsby also portrays a lot of economic oppression of women.

It was frowned upon that women were allowed to get a job. They were not supposed to be self-sufficient. In her twenties, the ideal job for a woman was to stay at home and have children. Jordan Baker was the only person who was able escape from this oppression. She was a well-known golfer and didn't need any man to support. Jordan Baker was an independent woman, which caused many in her community to frown on her independence. Political oppression was another type of oppression women faced in her twenties. Political oppression was a way for women to be denied the right to vote. They were made to sit back and support their husbands' decisions Daisy believed that this was the best way for women. This is what she says to her daughter: "I'm glad it was a girl." She'll be a fool, that's what a girl should be. (21).

Psychologically, women were also oppressed. Men would shut down women if they had any thoughts. Because women were lower in sex, it was impossible to accept their ideas. Women felt like they had no meaning when the ideas were shut down. The Great Gatsby also presents a double standard. This double standard shows that men are superior to women and society equality between the sexes is meaningless. It is repeated many times throughout the book. Myrtle and Tom had a secret affair and Tom could talk about George Wilson in a very unfriendly tone. But when Myrtle mentioned something about Tom's beautiful trophy wife Daisy, Myrtle got a punch to his nose and threatened to never speak again.

This double standard is that Tom can talk trash, but Myrtle cannot. Myrtle is a woman who allows Tom to talk trash, but Myrtle is not allowed to. However, men can cheat without being judged. Women would be criticised for cheating. It's a feat for men, but it is stigmatizing for women. This is evident in the many relationships that Tom Buchanan has had. Tom was a married man who had a family. But he wasn't satisfied so he entered into a relationship unnamed with his mistress. He would eventually leave the girl he loved and move on to another woman if she was not good enough. Myrtle Wilson was the next. The relationships Tom had with women shows his opinions on their worth and the audience can see that he didn't think much of them.


The Great Gatsby contains many elements of feministism, as shown in the film. This is repeated for the audience many times. Fitzgerald clearly demonstrates gender roles, patriarchy controls and double standards between sexes. They are easy to infer from Fitzgerald's excellent work. He does a great job of including these aspects in his character lives. These aspects were not only included in Gatsby's life, but also Tom, Daisy and Nicks. Fitzgerald demonstrated that women in their twenties weren't treated equally, but that they were held to different standards than men.

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Critical Essay on Gender Roles in the Great Gatsby. (2022, Oct 10). Retrieved from

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