Study Guide

Passion Gender/Women and Femininity

By Alice Munro

Gender/Women and Femininity

She hated Elizabeth Taylor in that movie, she hated spoiled rich girls of whom nothing was ever asked but that they wheedle and demand. (18)

If you were to ask us, we'd say Grace felt a little stifled by the expectations society placed on her simply because she was a female, and it sounds like she saw the same thing happening to ol' Liz Taylor in this movie—albeit with little resistance from Taylor's character. Do movies (especially romantic comedies) still present the kind of female character that Grace professes to hate? Why might that be the case? 

</em>It was rage. And not because she couldn't shop like that or dress like that. It was because that was what girls were supposed to be like. (19)

What are girls "supposed to be like"—at least according to movies like Father of the Bride? We wonder what Grace would think of some of the movies we see today—would they still inspire the same kind of rage? Or have her passions been pushed behind the washtub with age? Also, we never see her outwardly express this inner rage she feels. Why might this be the case? 

That was what a girl should be, to be fallen in love with. (19)

It's interesting that Grace rails against this idea, yet she once had a fantasy in which a handsome Prince Charming figure comes into her life and falls in love with her. Maybe those stories are impossible to ignore.

</em>There was a discrepancy…between the way she presented herself and the way she wanted to be judged. (22)

How does Grace want to be judged? How much of a factor is physical appearance in how people judge us?

</em>These subjects were considered particularly hard for girls. (27)

This stigma—that boys are better suited to study science and math—still seems to exist today. This goes to show that even though some of the gender roles and expectations that we see in this story may come off as dated or old-fashioned, there are several that still exist today. Maybe change doesn't always happen as quickly as we'd like. 

</em>Like her figure, like her muumuus, it showed her independence. (35)

Maybe Mrs. Travers doesn't feel the same way about these signs of independence that Grace has attached to her. Who ever thought muumuus would be so admirable?