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Atwood's Masterpiece

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e-Writer in Residence

Mya Kidson | May 15, 2017

I recently read the short story “The Female Body” by Margaret Atwood and I found it so mesmerizingly deep. Atwood writes a compelling piece on how gender standards are present in everyday society. Although we have come a long way from the past, many people still have stereotypes on how both women and men should act. Atwood doesn’t seem to beat around the bush, but is rather blatantly honest about gender. Atwood uses satire to add a comical aspect instead of lecturing rant. She calls upon humour and irony by using metaphors that in turn ridicule sexism and gender stereotypes. Instead of calling the female body what it is, she addresses it as an object. This relates to the issue of why we as women are objectified by looks on a daily basis.

The female body is so diverse. As females we strive to be different, by trying new styles; however society has almost made us feel that to be pretty we have to look a certain way, dress a certain way or act a certain way.

Then Barbies come into the picture. Barbie with the small waist, lean figure and large chest, influences children as to what they “should” look like. Media is everywhere, subconsciously affecting our conscious judgment about how we look and how we should look.

Atwood then compares gender stereotypes on the basis of intelligence. On one hand, females are supposed to be observant and caring, while men just go for the gold. Females are soft and vulnerable while men are tough and bulletproof. However if a man is emotional and a women is without emotion who is to say that’s not normal as well.

The last paragraph gets to me. Atwood states “Catch it. Put it in a pumpkin, in a high tower, in a compound...Quick stick a leash on it, a lock, a chain, some pain, settle it down, so it can never get away from you again”. Now these last few sentences can be perceived differently. Perhaps Atwood is addressing the fact that women are constantly subjected to torture, sexual assault and rape, because men ignore their pleas and cries when they say “NO.” Perhaps this sentence sums up how objectified the female body is in real life, especially when she replaces “her” with an “it”.

Women are all kind of sorts of wonderful, beautiful and diverse. To end stereotype we all have to come together and knock down those walls built by ignorance and prove that we are all equal in this world.