Over the past 200 years sexual liberation and freedom have become topics of discussions prevalent within western culture and society. With the recent exploration of sexuality a new concept of sexual and gender identity has emerged and is being analyzed in various fields of study. The ideology behind what defines gender and how society explains sex beyond biology has changed at a rapid pace. In response various attempts to create specific and catch all definitions of growing gender and sexual minorities has been on going. This has resulted in the concept of gender becoming a multi- layered shifting hypothesis to which society is adapting. Since the 19th-century, philosophers and theorists have continued to scrutinize gender beyond biological and social interpretation. Margaret Atwood 's The Handmaid 's Tale captures the limitations and social implications forced upon a set gender based on societal expectations. Gender is a social construct that limits the individual to the restrictions and traditions of a society, or if it’s an individually formed self-identification of sex and sexuality that is formed autonomously. Evidence of gender establishment can be seen within literary works and supported by various schools of gender and sexuality theory.
Sexuality is defined as one’s sexual character which possesses the structural and functional traits of sex. In the Renaissance, this definition was accompanied with ideologies of gender. This incorporated knowledge led to their notions of the female being inferior to the male based on what was
In modern times, feminism and the yearning to become more than a traditional “housewife” have been topics of fierce discussion; however, often neglected is the fact that men, too, are expected to fulfill a role in society. In Michel Marc Bouchard’s Lilies, the characters are heavily influenced by the Catholic, Quebecois society of Roberval, which promotes heteronormativity and a certain masculine mold, resulting in tense relationships with oneself and with others. This can be seen as Simon struggles internally with who he is while Bilodeau and Timothee express discontent in the increasing visibility of homosexuality and the breakdown of the masculine “norms.” Although this play takes place in the early 20th century, the advocacy of what a man should be according to Catholicism, which often leads to homophobia, still prevails heavily today, as seen in Katherine Dugan’s “Gendering Prayer: Millennial-generation Catholics and the Embodiment of Feminine Genius and Authentic Masculinity” and in Wayne Martino’s “Policing Masculinities: Investigating the Role of Homophobia and Heteronormativity in the Lives of Adolescent School Boys.” These articles show the extent to which the toxic outlook on masculinity is seen in Lilies while providing insight into how the public is expected to adhere to heteronormativity. These struggles perceived in Lilies can also further be analyzed through the works of Roy Brooks-Delphin, Lowell Gallagher et al., and Wolfgang Palaver.
Just like Paglia uses rhetorical appeals, she also uses all six persuasive techniques in her essay. The first, reasoning, is present throughout her whole paper. Like her logos, she uses many factual examples in her essay that prove that her argument is correct. Repetition is also key in Paglia’s argument as she frequently reminds the reader that feminism is responsible for the ongoing issue of rape. Date rape is an emotional topic, but Paglia goes even further in making the reader feel her words. She uses exciting, shocking, and provocative terms to grab the reader’s attention. There is an example she includes in her essay about a film titled Where the Boys Are that she compares to the modern generation. Even though the film was created in 1960, she makes it relevant and fresh to the reader. Paglia’s paper is an argumentative essay, so therefore, there is many examples of counterarguments. Her thesis is that feminism is part of the problem of rape, and she consistently argues that point in the whole paper. Near the beginning of her paper, Paglia also talks about a time when one of her students told her about a trip he had in Egypt and how he slept under the stars alone in a Great Pyramid. She makes the reader feel her sadness when she says that she could never be able to experience that, simply
In “The Myth of Homosexuality” by Christine Downing, there is the discussion of homosexuality and its meaning over the years. Downing begins the article by stating how a myth has classified women-on-women and men-on-men relationships to fall under the same term of homosexuality, but there is much deeper understanding to it than that. The classification under one word has caused a lot of shaping concerning how they are viewed or how they view themselves. In order to look past the surface of what defines the myth, Downing states that we must start with the culture’s myth and it’s origin.
Often joked or laughed about, the sexual exploitations of young men are often seen as a right of passage. A young man’s first experience maybe with an older woman and such encounters have been portrayed in American music, movies and glamorized in American pornography. There are those who will argue that the type of sexual relationship Lafave had with her student was wrong and disgusting, but there is also a gender bias for
Sexuality has an inherent connection to human nature. Yet, even in regards to something so natural, societies throughout times have imposed expectations and gender roles upon it. Ultimately, these come to oppress women, and confine them within the limits that the world has set for them. However, society is constantly evolving, and within the past 200 years, the role of women has changed. These changes in society can be seen within the intricacies of literature in each era. Specifically, through analyzing The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne and The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, one can observe the dynamics of society in regards to the role of women through the lens of the theme of sexuality. In both novels, the confinement and oppression of women can be visibly seen as a result of these gender roles. Yet, from the time The Scarlet Letter was published to the time The Bell Jar was written, the place of women in society ultimately changed as well. Hence when evaluating the gender roles that are derived from sexuality, the difference between the portrayals of women’s oppression in each novel becomes apparent, and shows how the subjugation of women has evolved. The guiding question of this investigation is to what extent does the theme of sexuality reflect the expectations for women in society at the time each novel was written. The essay will explore how the literary elements that form each novel demonstrate each author’s independent vision which questions the
On the article On Date Rape, Paglia discussed what contemporary women should think about rape risk. She believes that even though women already won the freedoms, they still need to be aware about rape risks constantly, and keep themselves be safe. Because she thinks today males still are dominant on sex. This is a thought-provoking article. However, even though the author is an authoritative professor, there are still some fallacies and weakness in this article.
For queer theorists, identity has been constructed through performativity, which is based on the opinion of Judith Butler. Butler (1990, p.25) believed that “ there is no gender identity behind the expression of gender; that identity is performatively constituted by the very ‘expressions’ that are said to be its results.” In other words, there is not any factor to produce the identity, but identity creates itself through performativity. One should imitate and repeat the gender expression again and again according to norms, then the identity will be constituted, which also shows that identity is fluid and constructed. Moreover, Jenkins (2000,2004) stated that a dynamic social process generates identity, so identity is not static but fluid and dynamic.
Moreover, Butler’s literature review is based on philosophers and social theorists such as, Foucault and Nietzsche. The author attempts to analyze some of the attributes and variables in the society such as sex variable and the gender identity characteristics. She depicts gender in queer theories in media in a critical manner that makes her work a valuable contribution to the field of gender studies. The book would assist my paper, by providing insights into the idea of gender being negotiated through discourse and performance of gender in everyday interaction, and how identity is a performativity and it is constituted by expression. Butler’s views on gender challenges the cultural norms and gender categories. Therefore, she brought a creative chaos to the people about their sexual instincts and the establishment of the marriage agency. The book lacks empirical studies, quantitative researches. However, as my research relays on the literature review and secondary materials, this book would provide my paper with a deep insight into the queer theories.
This book features a collection of Judith Butler’s essays and her primary intention with this collection is to “focus on the question of what it might mean to undo restrictive normative conceptions of sexual and gendered life” (12). These essays look at the construction of gender and the way certain conceptions of it are normalized and reproduced in potentially harmful and limiting ways. Butler uses a feminist poststructural framework to critique the normalizing/marginalizing views of gender that exist because the “terms that make up one’s own gender are, from the start, out-side oneself, beyond oneself in a sociality that has no single author (and that radically
In the case of Spargo’s interpretation of Foucault the hegemonic ideal sexual subject is that of a straight man, who is presumably white and middle class. According to Foucault the category of homosexual emerged in the 19th century out of the development of the field of sexology, when medicine replaced religion as the primary producer of discourse on sexuality, and enforcer of (hetero)sexual norms . Foucault argues that despite their relative position individuals categorised as homosexual were able to create their own discourse (or counter-discourses) to the narrative on unnaturalness promoted by sexology in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, thus finding agency within constraining discourses . In this way sexuality and sexual subjects are constructed, understood and questioned through the discourse produced by those individuals and institutions with access to power.
The goal of this paper is to prove why the homosexual couple is more normal than the heterosexual couple and why the definition of beauty is not accurate throughout the plot of American Beauty by using the technique of gender criticism. My first step to achieving this goal will be providing evidence about the main masculine and feminine roles and how they are reversed. Afterwards, I will compare and contrast the relationship of the homosexual couple with that of the heterosexual couple. In addition, I will describe how the movie depicts society’s definition of beauty by allowing the readers to sympathize with teenagers, Jane Burnham and Angela Hayes.
According to Judith Butler’s theory, gender is a social concept and not a natural part of being, therefore making it unstable and fluid. Gender identities are produced through what Butler calls “performativity,” the repetitive acts of expression that form and define the notions of masculinity and femininity. These repeated performances are engrained within the heteronormative society and impose these gendered expectations on individuals. In this respect, gender is something inherent in a person, however Butler writes “gender is always a doing, though not a doing by a subject who might be said to pre-exist the deed.” In Olga Tokarczuk’s House of Day, House of Night identity is undoubtedly central to the characters’ stories, specifically the strict social constructs of gender that is snarled with one’s identity. Tokarczuk’s novel presents a mosaic of stories that put into question heteronormative gender roles, while offering an alternative way of existence. Analyzing House of Day, House of Night with Judith Butler’s gender theory demonstrates the characters struggles within the rigid constructions of gender and how some ultimately deal with moving past such restricting expectations.
The “New Woman” refers to a category of women, beginning in the late 19th century, who adopted feminist ideals, wishing to break gender roles and gain independence from and equality with men (Newton, 560-61). While not one specific, real person, the “New Woman” is an overarching term that encompasses the many women in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The first generation of these women strove for economic and social autonomy with roles separate from the home and family spheres of domesticity (Newton, 561). For example, they would not marry, but instead receive a higher education and work in a profession (Newton, 561). To replace their commitments to men and family, they instead formed close and passionate relationships with other women, though these relationships were not sexual in nature, people viewed women as passionless and pure. The second generation, however, living in a more modernist culture of sexual freedom, began to discuss female sexuality, and wanted to participate in more opportunities only offered to men, including drinking and smoking (Newton, 564). Because of the societal idea that only men were sexual beings, New Women had to explain the intimate relationships among them, which had become sexual in the second generation. Thus, they created the idea of masculine lesbians, who had male souls that caused them their sexual feelings (Newton, 566). The “mythic mannish lesbian” refers to these women who dressed and acted in a masculine manner