- Which decade (1960s to date) in your view has seen the gre...
Which decade (1960s to date) in your view has seen the greatest changes in the sexual representation of women and men in literature?
Feminist theory has contributed significantly to the sexual
representation of females, the focus of feminist arguments have
centred on the analysis of power relations between males and
females. Although feminist theory has contributed significantly to
the understanding of patriarchal oppression, it has not been until
the more recent years that I feel that there has been a more
significant change in the sexual representation of males and
females in literature. The reason for this is that in the past,
feminist theories have done a lot to explain how living in a
patriarchal society can affect issues of work, health, domestic
violence, family etc. However, literature has failed to take
account of the male point of view; literature has failed to explain
male behaviour in each of the spheres of life mentioned
previously. However, more recently there has been a wealth of
knowledge created by academics and researchers in regards to the
male standpoint or differing notions of masculinity. This has
enabled a more rounded and even representation of males and females
Therefore, in this piece of work I am arguing that literature
since the 1990's till the present day has made a real advancement
of knowledge in understanding the same spheres of life from both a
feminised but more so a masculinised perspective. A holistic
understanding of males and females did not begin till the 1990's.
Moreover, I feel it is important to look at the sexual
representation of males and females up until the present day, as
the wealth of knowledge that has been built up in this area has
depended upon the foundations laid in the 1990's. This essay will
go on to justify the reasoning behind why the 1990's till the
present day has made the greatest changes in the sexual
representation of males and females in literature. Firstly I will
begin by discussing the absence of a male standpoint in literature.
I will then go on to illustrate this point by addressing the
literature which has emerged on sexuality as a direct result of a
more comprehensive understanding of the sexual representation of
males and females in our society today. Both of these topics
will illustrate the point that without an understanding of the
notions of masculinities and femininities we would not have been
able to build a more comprehensive understanding of males and
females in our post modern society.
Although I have focused on sexuality and masculinity, the debate
of masculinity has dominated literature since the 1990's. The
traditional notions of masculinities are being questioned, theories
of masculinity have been applied to explain the differences in
academic attainment levels between boys and girls, to explain
domestic violence (Anderson, 2001), men's non traditional career
choices (Simpson, 2004), man to man violence (Whitehead, 2005), and
health (Courtenay, 2000).
In conclusion, 1990's to date has seen the greatest changes in
the sexual representation of men and women in literature. The main
reason for this is the development of a framework to place male
behaviours and interactions within a context of socialisation. The
focus of the sexual representation of women in literature has been
evident in literature since the rise of feminism; however since the
1990's the emergence of literature has allowed us to understand the
sexual representation of man and women in a holistic manner. In
doing so we are able to apply theories of masculinity and
femininity to attempt to explain new gendered phenomenon.