Femininity In A Streetcar Named Desire

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Nevertheless, ideas of what are perceived as typically masculine and feminine in behavior and even appearance depend on an individual’s perception of what he or she has. “I want to be near you, got to be with somebody, I can’t be alone!” (Williams 17). One would assume that the quote is a woman speaking because it sounds needy and vulnerable, and they would be right. This is because of the ideas held by masculine and feminine qualities. The preconceived notion that men are tough and dominant, while women are soft and sensitive, is a common idea that is assumed. In A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams, gender roles are significantly defined. It is apparent which qualities a “man” has, versus qualities a “woman” has. Stella Kowalski…show more content…
Mitch is the character that challenges society’s presumptions of what masculine is. He holds some qualities that relate to femininity. Mitch is gullible, blinded by Blanche’s lies, whereas Stan doesn’t buy into the words that Blanche speaks. Mitch is courteous and has public decency. Mitch seems to think more highly of the woman. He considers their feelings. He complains, “Poker shouldn’t be played in a house with woman” (63). Stanley, however, shows little respect towards the woman, particularly his wife, when he smacks her from behind in front of company (50). Mitch acts with qualities of the Old South and makes himself appear like a “gentleman”. With Mitch’s sensitivity added to his qualities, that challenges the stereotype of masculinity that compares to Stan’s. His considerate and caring nature is demonstrated when he speaks of his mother. He is his mother’s caretaker (47). When revealed that Blanche is lying to Mitch, he loses it; he is no longer the “gentleman” he pretended to be (150).
Femininity in the play is portrayed differently between Stella and Blanche. Stella embodies the notions of femininity during the time the play was written. She is the housekeeper and obedient wife. Stella, however, represents complete indifference based on her domestic and submissive role: BLANCHE. No?—I’d forgotten how quiet you were. STELLA. You never did give me a chance to say much, Blanche. So I just got in the habit of being quiet around you.
BLANCHE. A good habit to get into... [then, abruptly] You haven’t asked
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