Gender Issues and Culture Shock Essay Example
The 2002 films portray important issues on cultural impacts with gender roles in a modern-day society. Each protagonist has to face their own culture's societal expectations within their family communities. Jess, an aspiring Indian football player living in England, faces her culture's expectations of having children and being a housewife while dreaming of playing football. Tula faces her Greek cultures expectations of marrying as a young virgin and having many children with a Greek spouse. However, both characters do not fit their society's normal, and they must learn how to balance their culture and their dreams.
Initially, shows how gender roles affect both men and women in different ways. Women are expected to marry, have children, and do “wifely duties”. Jess wants to play football, something her mother has always been against. Men are also expected to marry and have children, but they must also provide for their family. Each party does not get to chase their dreams, their only goal is to pass on the culture. At the end of the movie, Jess’ father encourages her to leave her sister’s wedding to go play football. He told her his biggest regret is not following his dream, and how Jess should follow hers. Jess leaves the wedding, and wins the football game. She played better than she has ever, and got offered a scholarship to an American university in California. After the game, Jess worries on how she will tell her family about the scholarship. Her mother is appalled, saying how Jess should not be playing football, rather, she should be cooking. Eventually, with the help of her supportive father, Jess is able to accept the scholarship and move to America.
Additionally, depicts a proud Greek father, Gus, who treats his daughters and sons differently. Toula, the protagonist, is thirty years old and single. Her father wants to send her to Greece to find a Greek boy to marry, but she has no interest in marrying. Tula’s younger brother, Nick, is also single, but is not being pressured to marry by his father. Gus tells Nick he has a lot of time to get married, and not to worry. Gus believes Nick will find a Greek virgin to marry, however, he is hopeless when it comes to Toula. Gus’ beliefs towards marriage shows the immense pressure on girls of all ages to marry and have Greek children, while men have no worry.
Toula begs her father to go to college, but he says she is already smart enough for a girl. However, Toula’s mother sympathizes with her, and helps her enroll in college to learn technology. Toula graduates, and starts working at a travel agency, where she reunites with Ian, a man she instantly fell in love with the first time she saw him at the family restaurant. Toula is afraid to introduce Ian to her large, Greek family because Ian is not Greek. Nobody in Toula’s family has ever married someone who is not Greek, and her parents are shocked when they hear the news.
After the initial shock is over, Toula and Ian move very fast, with Ian quickly proposing to her and getting baptized. Toula’s family celebrates the engagement with a huge gathering, where her family meets Ian. The two get married and have a child together. Although the two ended together, Toula’s father was very hesitant at first. Gus did not approve of Ian because he did not follow Greek traditions of asking for Gus’ permission to marry his daughter. This shows a societal expectation on men to ask a woman out.
In brief, both cultures have similar expectations for their men and women to follow. Jess and Toula going against their family’s wishes was something unheard of in their cultures. The two girls went against everything they have ever known to follow their heart, and they both ended in a place better than before.