The Influence of Gender Roles in “Trifles”


The play “Trifles” by Susan Glaspell portrays the dynamic societal-based gender roles. Over the decades, the difference between masculinity and femininity fostered the significant marginalization and biased distribution of benefits. The play focuses on the impact of societal practices on distinctive gender roles and the trickle-down effect. The play’s plot is the events that follow after the murder of John Hossack on December 2, 1990 (Frailberg 2). According to John’s wife, Margaret, a stranger broke into their house and axed her husband while she was sleeping next to their bed (Frailberg 2). Susan Glaspell develops a play that demonstrates the oppression among women mainly because of the established social norms. Gender roles developed across the social realm significantly contribute to the disparity concerning the accessibility of opportunities and benefits from daily encounters.

The play portrays a profound gender role distinction demonstrating women as housekeepers while men engage in professional practices. Apart from the adept division of labor, the author establishes the significant effect of the social conditions concerning women’s expectation to submit to the man’s demands (Frailberg 3). In this case, the females lack any form of control or a social identity mainly because of the subjective nature of a man’s decisions and actions. It is evident when Minnie Wright is judged for negligence as a housekeeper to ensure the husband’s safety in the house, as articulated by sheriff Henry Peters and county attorney George Henderson. The approach fosters in-depth insight into the perceptive practice of the core duties of men and women through the constitutional and societal frameworks. The play further intensifies masculinity’s effect by ensuring female characters’ identification using their last names. An excellent demonstration is Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale, while Minnie’s name is transformed from Minnie Foster to Minnie Wright. Primarily, the engendering of males and females based on the social realm of responsibilities fosters a prominent impact in the bias and denial of vast growth and development opportunities.

Minnie is one of the main characters in the play and is presented with a significant challenge mainly because of the confinements posed by society. According to the author, Minnie is an isolated housewife without any offspring, while the husband optimally builds his social capital with colleagues (Frailberg 3). The distinctive insight attributes the male domination in the spectrum while further indicating the level of oppression relative to females’ dependence on men’s financial resources. In this case, the housewives only enjoy the limited capacity of the opportunities offered by the men due to the social implication of the gender roles. It is an initiative that renders the apt controversy on equality mainly because of the nature of the world order. The social norm influenced women’s perception concerning gender equality hence the blindness in comprehending the discriminatory practices. Minnie relates the bias to a strangled bird that lacks the hope of living. The play’s context fosters the derivation of optimal insights concerning gender bias and the adverse effect on social growth and development.

Gender Bias in Professional Practice

The news media significantly contribute to gender bias, especially among female politicians and leaders. According to Beaudoux, journalists render female bias by focusing on women’s personal lives, connections to powerful men, physical appearance, emotional quotient, and intimidation of their voices (1-3). There is a profound distinction between male and female dominance in leadership. Although there is an apparent paradigm shift, many women seeking political positions encounter a dynamic bias due to the prevailing stereotypical essence in the modern and traditional social spectrum. Journalists use various approaches to discredit leadership capacity among women while justifying the positions for men. Beaudoux depicts that the optimal solution lies in developing gender-balanced interview questions (4). In this case, journalists ask the males and females similar questions to attain an unbiased perspective about topical issues and coverage. Gender bias is an issue that proficiently fosters marginalization of women from dynamic leadership positions and experiences. Therefore, it is the responsibility of relevant stakeholders to establish effective measures in journalism advocating for equal opportunities for men and women.

There is a significant difference between negative and sexist media coverage despite their effect on gender bias. According to Lawrence, negative coverage involves the critical analysis of the female politician’s manifesto and dynamic goals against the masculine marker (2). However, sexism is the notion of using traditional language and stereotypes to justify the disqualification of the female as a leader (Lawrence 3). The central aspect of the notion lies in the utilization of sex and sexuality remarks to demonstrate the incapacitation of a female politician. Over the decades, the traditional notion among women focused on their personalities as emotional, empathetic, and weak due to the compromised nature of depending on men for decisions. In this case, Lawrence argues that despite the efforts to enhance female politicians’ media coverage, there is a profound devaluation of their abilities as leaders (2). As a constructive approach, sexism profoundly affects the image of female politicians mainly because it exposes private and intimate details of their lives to discredit their legibility. Notably, it is the responsibility of the journalism profession to implement measures that enhance gender balance across the media coverage spectrum.

There is a profound controversy among journalists regarding the quotation percentage representation of women in articles and journals. According to Leonhardt, the challenge towards enhancing gender balance in presenting quotes regards topical issues (2). The researcher establishes that the allowed percentage of quotations for women is 40% (Leonhardt 2). In this case, it is the responsibility of the journalists to observe the mark and promote equality. Nevertheless, the core issue concerning the quotation process is the focus on topical discussions. Leonhardt establishes that involving women in comments regarding such masculine topics as economics and politics (2). The main reason enshrines the apt complexity in the constructs that distract women and the capacity to engage with their male counterparts adeptly. As a result, the recommendation involves advocating for all stakeholders’ engagement in promoting gender equality.

Media coverage promotes gender bias based on dynamic practices and significant values. On the one hand, it is crucial to alleviate sexism as a formative aspect of boosting the imagery among women in politics and leadership positions. On the other hand, it is challenging to engage women in masculine-based topical issues. In this case, the core mandate for journalists involves promoting gender balance based on the incorporation of effective measures advocating for optimal coverage.

The workforce and labor market are identified as missing opportunities for expansiveness and diversity due to the glass ceiling of women upon securing high managerial positions. On the hand, in situations masculinity is in the vicinity, the glass ceiling falls upon the male gender presenting the opportunity for inequality (Leonhardt 2). However, this concept seems to be contradictory to the fact that in occupational distribution and the wage levels, men secure high positions and earn more than women because of the vast experience posed by the male gender. In relation to that argument, the event in which the male performs a better part of the fieldwork presents opportunities in the workplace for excellence in performance and more understanding of the concepts (Leonhardt 2). Therefore, the various concepts establish that the male gender is usually presented with gender ceilings, especially in the cases of gender learning being perceived as the strong and hardy and working more extensively than the females but enjoying high positions in the workplace.

Implication of “Trifles” Context on Gender Bias

The play fosters the demonstration of gender bias through the spectrum of social practices. According to the author, Minnie encounters challenges as a woman mainly because of her reliance on her husband’s authority over her personal affairs (Frailberg 2). The notion intensifies the concept of interdependence between males and females mainly because of the apt idea of sexuality. It is the responsibility of key stakeholders to incorporate approaches that enhance equality. The balance of opportunities and power among men and women is an initiative that enhances the increase in the pool of ideologies and practices among entities. One aspect fostering the alleviation of discriminatory practices is the change in the societal notions regarding masculinity as superior to feminism. It is essential to establish the equal aspect across the diversity to render social growth and development necessary. A different aspect is the implementation of policies ensuring the gender distribution across distinctive professional capacities and levels for the counterparts. Advocating for women’s empowerment through the dynamic aspect attributed to the evolutionary aspect concerning the effective trickle-down of effects among the males and females.

Over the decades, masculinity fostered gender bias and a rise in domestic violence and gender-based discrimination. A significant percentage of females are victims of violence from the influence of masculinity. Therefore, the core mandate among the counterparts encompasses implementing strategies that enhance an effective distributive social justice system. Optimal growth and development depend on the interdependence between males and females (Frailberg 3). The play demonstrates the apt necessity of enhancing engagement among the counterparts. The lack of defining initiatives and strategies promoting the relationship risks the rise in discriminatory practices and poor coordination among the individuals. It is crucial that leaders foster inclusivity of females in the development, planning, and implementation of policies to promote the eradication of gender bias.

Consequently, gender bias results from the established female and male roles in the social spectrum. On the one hand, males emerge as the superior and sole providers in the household hence justifying the submission among females. On the other hand, females feature as the housekeepers and the inferior sexual group. Primarily, the play renders an insight concerning the significant adverse effect on the apt concept of improving social relations mainly because of the discriminate distribution of power. The institutional leaders’ mandate is to implement approaches and strategies that advance engagement between men and women across the spectrum. Gender equity is a sustainable practice causing the practical trickle-down effect of accrued benefits from dynamic human activities.

Works Cited

Beaudoux, Virgina Garcia. “Five Ways The Media Hurts Female Politicians—And How Journalists Everywhere Can Do Better.” The Conversation, Web.

Fraiberg, Allison. Communication and Organizational Behavior in Susan Glaspell’s Trifles. SAGE Publications: SAGE Business Cases Originals, 2020.

Leonhardt, David. “I’m not Quoting Enough Women”. The New York Times, Web.

Lawrence, Regina G. “Do the Media Give Women Candidates a Fair Shake?.” New Directions in Media and Politics, edited by Ridout, Travis N., Taylor and Francis, 2018.

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