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Powerful Girls, Not Beautiful Fools This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

“You always look so cool.” This is what Daisy Buchanan, a woman so affluent that her voice literally sounds like money, says to Jay Gatsby, the man who will love nobody like he loves her. You know what’s not cool? Recall that time that Daisy said, “I hope she’ll be a fool- that’s the best thing a girl can be in tis world, a beautiful little fool.” Despite Gatsby’s undying respect for Daisy, she clearly does not feel said admiration for herself.

As I read The Great Gatsby for the first time last summer, I could not help that feeling of anger, perturbation, and sadness that came with the tragically unfolding character of Mrs. Buchanan (among many others). Fools cannot and do not think for themselves. They are weak, cowering, subservient, incapable people. For Daisy, it was rather apparent that she did not value strength or courage for her young daughter any more than did your average 1920’s misogynist. But the difference here is that Daisy was a woman! She was a woman with wealth, and attention, and social status worthy of reverence. Why was she condemning herself to a life of submission and pain and hoping desperately that that subservience perpetuates into the life and mind of her young and innocent child?

This is what gets me about some women today. While our gender has persevered spectacularly in many aspects, we still, unfortunately, succumb to the very objectification and sexism that we work so tirelessly to extirpate! We want gender equality- not dominance, just equality- and yet, to supplement the sexism we receive from men, we objectify ourselves! It is so easy to do, this objectification. When we sell ourselves based solely on our aesthetics, when we lose confidence because of how our bodies look, we are cheating both women of the modern world and those of generations to come. While our bodies are truly beautiful things in which we should take pride, the idea that the state of their emaciation determines how attractive we are is purely objectifying.

The media confuses women, with starkly contrasting portrayals of what is considered attractive. So what do we believe? Here we have two opposite views of the perception of beauty, and yet we can recall that old, overused saying that “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Maybe this saying’s veracity is the reason for its continued presence. Unless the individual thinks that she is beautiful, she will never comply with the standards of beauty in somebody else’s book.


Our world is changing- slowly, in some aspects, but rapidly in others- to a state in which women are being respected more and more. Sure, sexism is still blatantly prevalent, and many things are still not fair or equal amidst the genders. However, if we voluntarily demand the respect for which we are constantly yearning, we will, eventually, receive it. If we do not sell ourselves into the toxic world of the media, breaking under the constraints of supposed beauty and valuing ourselves because of our male counterparts, then we are heading down the correct path.

How, exactly, can this be done? Like I’ve said, I am an adolescent girl, and I have yet to answer many such questions. I can only see that the women who allow themselves to be treated badly are doing just as much harm as those malicious, disrespectful men who do these repugnant things. If a man makes you feel unimportant, if he speaks or acts in an objectifying way, it is your duty as a woman to stand up for yourself. Do not act as Daisy or her young child might, like “beautiful fools.” Rather, have some strength; do not allow for this disrespect! We cannot change others’ actions by standing idly; rather, we must show them the worthy way in which we must be treated, making it known that in order to begin a relationship, whether romantically, professionally, or among friends, we must be respected. There are high yet logical standards to which we hold ourselves. We know that while we can act as blissfully ignorant “fools” who are puppets to their men, we possess the profound capacity to think, to speak, to be. That is our capacity, and to that we must remain true.



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TravelerenRouteThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Dec. 10 at 9:46 am
Hello, I just read your article PJ's for Patients. It was extremely well done. It was also inspiring to me. What a great cause.      This article was well done also. I can definitely understand advocating for Women's rights. I have never read The Great Gasby and so it is good to know that it contains some of those aspects. Although the writing was very good, I found it to be slightly harsh at times. I am always torn about the issue of women actually explo... (more »)
 
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