Study Guide

The Scorpio Races Gender

By Maggie Stiefvater

Gender

In front of us, there are two seas: one far-off ocean of deep blue and one seething mass of horses and men. All of them are men, not a girl among them. (7.2)

Gathered together like they are, the men almost operate with a sort of hive mentality. We wonder how much gender bias each individual man has? Would they speak out against Puck if they were by themselves?

What say does a girl have in how big her chest gets? (10.14)

Puck seems to be speaking to the entire female gender here, letting girls everywhere know that bust size is not representative of self-worth.

"I'm all for women, but this isn't a woman's game." (10.33)

Peg tells Puck this to get her to quit the races. We're not sure exactly what a woman's game would be. What is a woman's game, Peg Gratton? Bridge?

There's a girl on the beach. (15.1)

That's a complete thought to Sean, and a shocking one at that. Girls don't belong on the beach. The Scorpio Races isn't Baywatch—it's a man's world down there.

I couldn't even make it one day without being rescued. (16.9)

Puck does not want to be the princess in this story. Being rescued is not on her agenda. In fact, it's humiliating, because it's exactly what the guys think will happen to the weak little girl.

[Kate's] odds are 45-1. I wonder how much of that is because of her pony and how much is because of her gender. (30.33)

If we were betting, we'd bet that the horrible odds are mostly because of gender. The men seem to think that women don't know which end of a horse is the front.

"Fifty years ago, it was a man they killed up there, just like every year before. The man who will not ride." (32.29)

Okay, we have two things to say about this: (1) This explains why only men ride in the Scorpio Races. It's a decades-long tradition that has excluded women. (2) Maybe women should be glad, given that by being excluded from the race they're also excluded from the sacrifice.

Finney asks, "Where are your balls?" [...] "You're the one who said I have them, not me." (36.29, 36.31)

Sometimes gender bias make no sense whatsoever. The men don't want a female on the beach, so they insult her by calling her masculine? Does not compute.

I'm simultaneously terrified and humiliated as I hear myself. It's the voice of a scared little girl. (36.35)

Despite not wanting to be called masculine, Puck doesn't want to appear especially feminine either. The last thing she wants is to be perceived as a scared girl. There's no room for fear in the Scorpio Races.

"Do you mean to change the establishment? [...] So you wouldn't say you were inspired by the women's suffrage movement?" (59.7, 59.10)

This is the only time politics ever get explicitly brought up in The Scorpio Races. Does this mean the book takes place around the 50s or 60s, when the women's rights movement was hitting its peak, or is it even earlier?