Has anyone ever told you, or have you ever heard someone say that you hit like a girl? The novel The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton has a distinct message involving stereotypes, a subject well-known by society today, particularly relating to women. Women are always being judged by the way they look, act, talk, and basically the way they are as human beings. In the book, S.E. Hinton writes very little about the girls and women in the book, but what she does say very much relates to stereotypes. The type of stereotyping happens in the book and in real life.
I relate a lot to characters in the novel, such Marsha. Because she is a teenage girl, she isn’t talked about a lot in the book. Because she isn’t talked about I think it says something about society’s outlook about women in 1960 novels. The little bit that we do get about Marsha always seems to be involving crude remarks from boys. It shows a prime example of this in the book when Dally is talking to Cherry and Marsha. He is trying to annoy them and be rude. It just goes to show how men really treated women in that time; more like objects, rather than human beings.
Another teenage girl that actually had a significant role in the book is Cherry. Her character relates to me a lot. Because she is a teenage girl she isn’t expected to think about much besides the latest fashions and what boys think about her. People put that label on me all the time. They expect me to not think logically about life or put a lot of thought into my choices because I tend to think about my clothes or boys a lot. But, that doesn’t mean I never logically think. It is a stereotype placed on me because of gender. But Cherry is an outsider, she really does think about life in a different way. She thinks about people’s feeling and the sunsets, but more than that she cares about Ponyboy. Ponyboy and Cherry have a connection in the novel that shows how women really should be treated, like an actual human being. But that’s not what people normally think women are like.
Because I am a young-woman I “can’t” do a lot of things boys can do. Because of our society, people put the label on women that they “can’t” do a lot of the things men can do because they aren’t strong enough or brave enough.
For example, jobs. Many people think that women are not capable of doing such jobs involving military work, or some type of physical job that requires a lot of physical and emotional strength. Woman are constantly put down being told they aren’t strong enough in those types of job. On the contrary I think those types of accusations are highly false. Woman are more than capable of being in the military, but men put women down because of their body structure and because they are too “emotional.” Body structure is a physical aspect of the issues women face, but there is also a stereotypical issues as well. The stereotypical aspect is that women are too emotional. Therefore, scared of doing jobs that relate to a lot of fighting and difficult physical work.
Women, especially young women are expected to act and be a certain way. Personally I highly disagree that any woman should have to live up to the social norms of what society expects. Society’s norms basically involve the way a woman should look, or their appearance. Women are expected to look girly, pretty, cute, all the time and people put women down because of it. I know girls that don’t act girly and they tend to receive a lot more respect from men because of their less-feminist looks and actions. But do you think that’s fair? I am the type of “stereotypical” teenage girl. I constantly worry about my hair, I act SUPER girly, worry about my clothes, and anything you can think of that would sound like a “girl.” Though, because of the way I naturally act and dress, people think I am incapable of doing a lot of things.
Girls like me, and I imagine Cherry, are often told they “hit like a girl” whenever they hit a baseball or some type of object. The saying has to do with the fact that woman aren’t expected to hit a ball very hard, because people don’t think women are capable of doing things like that. It’s unfair, and unjust and one day I believe women won’t be told they “throw like a girl.” Women are almost like The Outsiders talked about in the novel. They are misunderstood and put down in society because of unjust stereotypes.