How the Construction of Gender Roles amongst Literary Texts Influence our Identity and Sense of Belonging


  • Jessica Keefe Nottingham Trent University


The term gender role refers to society’s concept of how men and women are expected to look and behave.’ There are a plethora of ways that these roles and expectations are created: from social norms, the society/generation in which we live and surround ourselves with, and what we read, which is arguably the most influential. Ultimately, this is because reading impacts how our minds grow and develop – it’s how we learn to understand, communicate and how we begin to develop our sense of belonging. Many young girls growing up idolising fairy tales and princesses, subsequently meaning they go on to dream about their perfect wedding; feeling like a princess themselves, falling in love and marrying their ‘Prince Charming.’ Throughout Sexuality, Gender and Nationalism, Kate Houlden goes on to depict the ways several male writers use not only gender, but sexuality and race in Anglophone Caribbean literature as a form of ‘masculine assertion.’ Inevitably, these types of texts go on to set expectations of Caribbean men and women – thereupon meaning, when these individuals don’t align into these social norms, they often fall victim to the texts and lose their sense of belonging amongst the community they feel lost – often referred to and seen as black sheep, which inevitably takes a toll on their mental wellbeing