Unattainable Norms

When I first started reading Tiptree’s “The Girl Who Was Plugged In” I was really confused with what was going on but as I got further into the text it became more evident what the message was. I thought it was interesting how the story illustrated the specific looks and habits that our culture associates as feminine and how our culture pressures women to act in a certain “feminine” way. It is sad that our society revolves around exterior qualities and that we are so set into thinking of gender roles that half the time it does not even occur to us that we are being prejudice. I know I sometimes catch myself thinking about something such as strength being a masculine characteristic just because it is so ingrained in me. However, if I actually stop to think about it I think everything is up to the individual.

In this story, P. Burke’s body’s disability to fall within the realm of feminine qualities makes her so depressed she tries to kill herself. By chance she does not succeed and when given the opportunity she is delighted to have the chance to free herself of her “dreadful” body and move into a body that has perfectly feminine qualities. To her, having a figure to be awed at and becoming the icon of what a girl is supposed to be is more precious to life than the beautiful things of our world such as taste and smell. The ironic part of the story is that this idea of a gender norm is so far off and unattainable that the only way to represent it is through an artificial girl named Delphi.


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