Gender Roles In The Woman Warrior

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Maxine Hong Kingston's use of talk stories in The Woman Warrior emphasizes that individuals will find a more fulfilling life if they defy the traditional gender norms place on them by society. While contemplating beauty standards in Chinese society in “No Name Woman” Maxine Kingston thinks, “Sister used to sit on their beds and cry together… as their mothers or their slaves removed the bandages for a few minutes each night and let the blood gush back into their veins” (9). From a young age girls are expected to be binding their feet and are told that it is to look beautiful, but in reality that is not why. When a womans feet are bound they are restrained and silenced. These girls could be free and happy but they are restrained by men through this binding. Kingston reveals another example of how defying gender roles can lead to a better life in her story “Shaman.” As her mom is…show more content…
Kingston has rarely seen independent woman and they seem to be very happy every time she’s encountered one. Kingston dreams of one day being able to be like the happy independent woman in the pictures. “A job and a room” seems so simple, but in a life where Kingston is told she can be a wife or a slave this seems like quite the luxury. In another example Kingston, through Fa Mu Lan, reveals how one’s life is more fulfilling if he or she defies the gender norms. In “White Tigers,” Fa Mu Lan is preparing to leave to war as she “[puts] on my men’s clothes and armor and tied [her] hair in a man’s fashion. ‘How beautiful you look,’ the people said. ‘How beautiful she looks’” (36). Fa Mu Lan has to dress as a man, because in China she is not allowed to fight in an army. She pursues what she wants even though she must dress as a man to do so. Fa Mu Lan decides to do what she wants to do without regarding what society thinks she should do because that’s what will make her the
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