Organizational Behavior in Margaret Atwood’s Surfacing
Popular culture is meant to represent the common ground or the popular perception of culture but has the organization of society become too intellectualized? If work is as much a part of our lives as eating and breathing is, then is work life itself a good reflection of our cultural make-up? Gender and sexuality have both taken on new identities over the last century, thanks to war and depression, and this has also changed how the working world is comprised. Men and women are socialised in different ways, aiding the way they see themselves in later life. Little girls are dressed in pink, little boys in blue; little girls bake and sew while little boys fix cars and make furniture. The way we are told we should behave, is largely responsible for the types of vocations chosen by people and also why new world upbringing has led to current trends of women in previously exclusively male vocations such as engineering. Margaret Atwood writes a compelling, if rather disturbing account of gender and sexuality in the modern world where her chief character battles with her own stress in the new expectations of women in the modern world.
Surfacing by Margaret Atwood is essentially a feminist manifesto that looks at the complexity of how society organizes its gender differences and sexuality. It is not an easy novel to digest neither does it attempt to dissipate the uncomfortable truths about life in the modern world....
This is because women in the workplace have had an affect both on men and women: men now have to share their workplaces with women and women have to contend with previously masculine issues. The problem with academic representations as opposed to popular writing is that the academia is unable to see the interpretive mode of translation. It is not possible for academic representations to see inside the person's actual being, making it difficult to determine what it is exactly that makes employees or ordinary people tick. Any number of aspects can affect the way the person reacts to the environment around them. The past, present and future are all parts of the human life cycle that affect the way organizations are perceived by individuals. The popular culture representation for this reason is more personal, more realistic. If we look for instance at the film Portrait of a Lady we see the difference between how women were perceived in the past and now how they are perceived today. There are two female characters in the book Surfacing, the narrator and Anna. Anna is the epitome of the old-world passive female mentality. Concerned most of all about her weight and her appearance, "I told her she should wear jeans or something but she said she looks fat in them."(Atwood, 1997: 5). On the other hand, the narrator writes about her lover, Joe whom she refrains from marrying, explaining his appearance, "with small clenched eyes and the defiant look of a species once dominant, now threatened with extinction. That's how he thinks of himself too: deposed, unjustly."(Atwood, 1997: 2). If we compare this piece of writing to the above example of Portrait of a Lady, we see the way in which gender roles