Gender and Sex Throughout the Generations: Examples in Portnoy’s Complaint, Catch-22, and Generation X. College

Throughout history, in every society, there has been a constant form of gender expectation and gender roles. The idea of masculinity and femininity existing as something much like an equilibrium constant is a common theme; one balances the other, always leaving an equal product. However, these ideas are heterosexist and often based in misogyny with a sprinkle of objectification. This objectification has been seen to be present in higher concentrations in the media of the Baby Boom, with lesser amounts following in subsequent generations. In a like manner, this pattern is shown in print mediums like Portnoy's Complaint by Phillip Roth, Catch-22 written by Joseph Heller, and even in songs such as the hit Fat Bottomed Girls, by the band Queen. Mediums have written in the later stages of the twentieth century, such as Generation X written by Douglas Coupland seems to have less of this negative overtone. This could be due to the efforts of feminist movements, a generational gap in thinking, or other specific reasons due to the period. What stays the same, are parallels of negativity and objectification towards women, either done consciously or unconsciously.

While the Baby Boomer generation has a sense of pride in being a...

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