The women of The Help deal with a variety of problems related to sexism, but their experiences differ due to race, class, and age. Through the character of Skeeter, The Help also exposes the double standards white women faced in the South during the 1960s. Skeeter chafes against the sexist Southern culture that expects white women to marry, stay home, and have children as soon as possible, while white men are allowed the freedom to explore their passions in the workforce. Choose two characters from the novel and compare the types of sexism that they struggle with, and how does this compare with your real-life experiences? Although we are living in 2021, how much has changed? Can you think of examples from today’s society where this idea is still prevalent?
The two characters I chose are Skeeter and Minny
quotes from the story:
Sexism Minny faced: “One time I asked him, “Why? Why are you hitting me?” He leaned down and looked me right in the face. “If I didn’t hit you, Minny, who knows what you become.” I was trapped in the corner of the bedroom like a dog. He was beating me with his belt. It was the first time I’d ever really thought about it. Who knows what I could become, if Leroy would stop goddamn hitting me.”
Sexism Skeeter faced: “My eyes drift down to HELP WANTED: MALE. There are at least four columns filled with bank managers, accountants, loan officers, cotton collate operators. On this side of the page, Percy and Gray, LP, is offering Jr. Stenographers fifty cents more an hour.”
Explanation: Skeeter struggles with the fact that women didn’t have many opportunities like men. The novel The Help depicts the double standards that white women experienced in the South throughout the 1960s. Skeeter despises the oppressive Southern society that expects white women to marry, remain at home, and have children as soon as possible, while white men are free to pursue their interests in the workplace. It shows that Minny is forced to work for her family to earn money in order to raise their family up. It ‘s different from Skeeter ‘s situation in that Skeeter is hoping to continue her career but Minny has no choice to change her situation. Minny is a strong character in the book and she even took revenge against Hilly after she spread rumors about Minny. However, Minny seems so weak, vulnerable and under the mercy of her husband Leroy. Even if Leroy abuses Minny, she endures it because she loves him. Sexism here is in the superiority of men over women that give them the right to abuse them.
Compare Skeeter’s sexism vs. Minny’s in the first paragraph and the second compare to today’s world as mention in the prompt.
Find anything about sexism nowadays to add it to the essay. Also cite the resource you’ll use and the book please.