Sexism In John Updike's A & P

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Sexism has been apparent for decades, and while the issue has grown and gained attention, the matter has yet to be dissolved. The main reason being is that these beliefs are imprinted into children, and they grow up thinking in sexist ways before they are able to fully understand the concept themselves. While both genders can be sexist, it is unusually rare for a woman to be sexist due to the fact of knowing what it is like to be the target of this prejudice. Teenage men often exhibit sexist objectification of women, and this type of sexism illustrates a naïve and offensive perspective of women that reinforces the stereotypical idea of how nineteen-year-old males view the opposite sex. Juvenile boys unconsciously have thoughts about women that…show more content…
In the story “A&P” a teenage-boy, Sammy, instantly starts watching 3 girl’s movements throughout the store he works in. He is absorbed in their movements so much, “[He] stood there with [his] hand on a box of HiHo crackers trying to remember if [he] rang it up or not” (1). Sammy has a simple job, yet he is so intrigued by the girls, which are doing nothing particularly interesting, that he cannot finish the task at hand. This proves the point that young boys view women as their viewing pleasure, at their own time. This is further illustrated when Sammy states “What got me, the straps were down” (2). He further goes on to eloquently describe the young girl’s shoulders. She is simply grocery shopping while wearing a top that is a little big in the arms, yet it is treated as scandalous. The store manager goes further states that the top is not allowed due to their shoulders being shown because “It’s our policy” (6). This is borderline crazy due to the fact that grocery stores due not have dress codes. Wearing a bathing suit is not inherently sexual, although Sammy and everyone else in the store views it like it is, which is when the sexism is
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