Mother Courage and Her Children

Gender Ideals

"The term gender is commonly used to refer to the psychological, cultural, and social characteristics that distinguish the sexes" (Cook 1). From the idea of gender such notions as gender bias and stereotyping have developed. Stereotypes have lead society to believe that a male or female should appear, act, or in more philosophical terms, be a certain way. What these gender stereotypes are and, whether or not they really exist, will be discussed further so that they can be examined in reference to the plays Mother Courage and Her Children and M. Butterfly. In Mother Courage and Her Children "motherhood", and what it should be, is challenged as a result of the actions and qualities of the character Mother Courage. M. Butterfly gives us a great depiction of a stereotypical male, and uses the female stereotype against him. Both of these plays invert, modify, and even glorify the gender stereotypes.

Society has females and males alike typecasted into roles which have basic characteristics that are the reverse of each other. Although this has begun to change over the past thirty years, typically the man was seen as superior to the female. This superior image is one that today, is slowly on its way to being reduced...

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