Female Characterisation In Popular Fiction
- Tenzing Wangdak,
Roll number 1096
Female characterisation in popular fiction has been greatly scrutinised in recent years by audiences and critics alike, with some arguing that women adhere to the pre-conceived, over simplified stereotypes of the domestic subordinate; yet others insisting this typical characterisation no longer exists and that the females of this century are liberated and hold equality to men in terms of literature.
‘Essentialism’ is a feminist theory that is “…the view that there is some natural, given essence of the feminine which is universal and unchangeable” (Beginning Theory; An Introduction to Literacy and Cultural Theory’ by Peter Barry). This means that ultimately no matter of the age, era or culture, femininity will always have the same characteristics regardless of a female’s social status or personality. The Oxford dictionary defines femininity as “having qualities traditionally regarded as suitable for a woman,” and typical examples of these are gentle, motherly, domesticated, tender etc. These examples give the impression that women are to stay at home and look after her family and both points link to form the conclusion that all female’s - regardless of her determination, power and social status - hold feminine qualities and it will always make them second best to a man.
The first extract, Agatha Christie’s ‘The Murder Of Roger Ackroyd’ is a prime example of typical female characterisation, as the main female character Flora Ackroyd behaves and conforms to what is expected of a female. The book, published in 1926, was written during the Women’s Suffrage Movement when women strived to be treated as equals to men politically in terms of being able to vote. However at this time despite...