Britney Spears' song "Womanizer" comes to mind...

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"I said, 'I'm glad it's a girl. And I hope she'll be a fool--that's the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.'" - Daisy, page 17.

It seems safe to say that the characters in this book seem to be leading somewhat meaningless lives. Nick speaks of how the men characters went to college and have accomplished great things, become rich, etc. The women in the book, Daisy, in particular, are described as graceful and pleasant, and nice to look at. I am in no way a feminist, but I must admit, as Nick speaks of the awkward interruption at dinner, and Miss Baker speaks of Tom's "other woman in New York," I was slightly disgusted, as Nick was. I will never understand how any women, especially the married ones, can stand by and watch their husbands "have other women." It seems very degrading to me. It seems to me that perhaps the materialism, having nice things, big houses, butlers, etc, seems to be extended into 'having women' for the men.  All I can think of is that Britney Spears song, "Womanizer." Hilarious, but relevant, I suppose. The way Daisy reacts to giving birth to a girl, to me, signifies that even women are being taught that women are basically worthless, and the best thing they can do in life is "be a fool." We know that's not true anymore, but people like the characters in this book, with materialistic natures, are empty inside, because they have not been taught differently. Everything in their world is based on riches, real estate, and fancy clothing. How can material possessions fill the void in one's life, if one does not know how to love and be loved?  

5 Comments

April Minerd said:

I have to say there were a few parts in particular I thought downplayed the role of women. As you pointed out the casual mentioning of the other woman and Daisy's unimpressive aspiration for her daughter both contribute to a less than desirable ideal of women. I would hardly call myself a feminist, but it is hard not to notice. It also struck me as odd in chapter three after Nick concludes Jordan as a dishonest person that he simply dismisses it by saying, "Dishonesty in a woman is a thing you never blame deeply." True, his character is not inclined to be judgmental, but why that choice of wording? What exactly makes dishonesty more acceptable from a woman?

April Minerd said:

I have to say there were a few parts in particular I thought downplayed the role of women. As you pointed out the casual mentioning of the other woman and Daisy's unimpressive aspiration for her daughter both contribute to a less than desirable ideal of women. I would hardly call myself a feminist, but it is hard not to notice. It also struck me as odd in chapter three after Nick concludes Jordan as a dishonest person that he simply dismisses it by saying, "Dishonesty in a woman is a thing you never blame deeply." True, his character is not inclined to be judgmental, but why that choice of wording? What exactly makes dishonesty more acceptable from a woman?

Rosalind Blair said:

This offers a lot of insight into how I imagine women of this time period acted. They were treated as toys for the men in their lives to treat however they wished. This can be seen with Daisy and Tom. I can only help but feel that Daisy does not agree with Tom’s playboy behavior, yet she feels that it is not her place to say anything to him. This is because he is her husband, and she must respect him, even if that respect is not returned. It would be nice to see Daisy stand up against the way she is being treated.

Nathan Hart said:

I thought about this too when i was reading the chapters. If you look at both sides in the beginning of this book, both the men and the women are represented to the extremes (ideal male and females of this time period). The women are just there to make the husband look better. They are beautiful, awkwardly happy much of the time, and have somewhat of a fake quality. Even the men in this book are the "ideal" husband/male. They went to college and played football. The All-American guy with nice cars, beautiful houses, beautiful wives, and not a real care in the world. The only real hard working man in the chapters seems to be Mr. Wilson, but of course his wife is cheating on him because he isnt the perfect man.

Nikita McClellan said:

Very good point! I agree that money and riches do seem to be what they worry about. It is a meaningless exsistance. As I say in my blog, I believe that the only reason Daisy and Tom stay together is for the money and the image. It is all about who you are married to and how much money they have. Otherwise you seem you be a nobody in the time period.
You are also right that the people do not understand any other way of life than what they have been taught. That is the nature of humans. Sometimes it is unfortunate to learn bad habits and never learn another way of life that could be potentially better.

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