From Words to Empowerment: Gender Inequality in Literature

5 min readJul 15


What do you pay attention to first when you read a book? Which
elements make you think the most and determine your comments
about the book? For me, one of these elements is how a writer handles a
character of the opposite sex. Today, the interest in male characters
written by women and the fact that this situation is a topic that is
discussed and thought of a lot supports my tendency. We clearly have
different expectations from the way a female writer portrays a man and
handles masculinity. We have a hunger for women to express not only
the characters but also love, pain, and maybe just a memoir. More
generally, reaching the true and essential expression of a
situation or emotion that is the subject of art is not possible only with the
way men handle it and their perspectives. In fact, many of my value
judgements about my history and culture have the signature of a man.
Although we did not think that this was an important detail, I believe that
we are struggling with inequalities arising from this point, and I dream of
a utopia where I hear all the stories from the women at the center of
those stories.

What enlightened me in these thoughts was a thesis I came across in
my research on gender and gender roles. According to this thesis,
depictions and descriptions of women by men; It has caused the
formation of an ideal female figure by affecting the perception of the

society, from the way women and their frequency of speech, to their
clothing, to the way they socialize, often according to a hierarchy
determined from the man’s perspective. Women did not have a say about
their own borders and liberties. In this circumstance, how can we think
that these borders and liberties reflected on us are true?
In another source I examined, a manipulation similar to the one
mentioned above is explained with an example involving religious and
political laws. According to the source, most of the religious and political
laws that have been created so far have not been regulated by
prioritizing people’s value judgments, in other words, according to the
ideals of the society. The laws were made according to the idealized
order, society, morality and lifestyle of the ruler of the period or the
person who has religious authority and it was expected to be accepted
as a principal by the society to which it is addressed. Just as the man
shapes the woman according to his own ideals. So if the woman does
not live in the manner that man idealized, it is considered absurd.
Nevertheless, women have declared at every opportunity that they do
not fit into this bell jar given to them, and that they do not bow to the
imposed forms and stereotypes. Even if it gets easy by day, those
declarations and rising against norms, which are not as easy as the word
is said, have not reached the desired momentum and effect from

yesterday to today. Maybe that’s partly why, none of these statements
relieves the pain of women’s identities that have been compressed by
their opposite sex throughout history, and this hunger is still hidden and
lives on in the minds and hearts of this gender, even in the small issues
of my generation, such as the choice of books. This situation pushes me
to think about the source of gender inequality, which reaches a different
dimension with gender roles. Many historians and researchers have
managed to address and define the concept of gender from different
perspectives. Because gender is a concept that is highly influenced by
the cultural structure of society and diversifies in this context. The
historian Joan Scott expressed one of the comments that I think is quite
interesting and profound about this concept: “Gender is the essential
element of social relations based on perceived differences between the
sexes; is the primary way of showing power relations.” This expression
clearly points to the main reason, the source of the greatness of the
impact of inequality on our lives. Gender is a formation whose
rootedness and traditionality are already utilized and that can be brought
to the agenda with many different intentions in many different fields. For
this reason, we may encounter a perception of gender and witness
inequality in every common ground of society, especially in the social
and mainstream media, even within the borders of our own homes and
living space.

So what is this gender inequality? Gender inequality, which has
become the constant topic of our agenda, is a kind of expression of the
dominance of the masculine approach, with society pointing to the
masculine order based on the differences between the sexes. At this point, the social definitions of the masculine and feminine binary system and what they represent in the social process of history should be discussed; It
should be observed by going down to the basis of how inequality spreads to various areas of our lives. As I have mentioned before, there is androcentrism in the foundations of human history, and this consciousness, this mentality has greatly affected the culture of the society. Androcentrism is the practice, conscious or otherwise, of placing a masculine point of view at the center of one’s worldview, culture, and
history, thereby culturally marginalizing femininity. The related adjective
is androcentric, while the practice of placing the feminine point of view at
the center is gynocentric ( Our desire to look from
the woman’s perspective and to understand the story with the woman’s
words is based upon this. To see women and femininity as marginal, to make women’s nature absurd, is to legitimize the constant intervention of men.

This naturally paves the way for inequality at the social level. In order to
be able to talk about gender equality that manifests in every part of
society, we must first accept the existence and individuality of women
and what their nature brings. Otherwise, all research on this subject,

including this essay, will remain as inculcations that are tried to be
adapted to society.





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