Deviant Sexuality Is Denoted By The Spaces And Women's Sexual And Economic Freedom

1582 Words May 25th, 2015 7 Pages
In both texts deviant sexuality is denoted by the spaces the characters occupy, as well as the places they have sexual contact. McDowell notes that “associations between migration to the city and urban living and women’s sexual and economic freedom” occurred in the early twentieth century (155). The connection between shopping and performativity of the public woman in these texts has already been acknowledged, however, McDowell further notes that:
“a large number of women’s writings about the city are androgynous figures: independent and hard-pressed working-class women, artists’ models or writers, if not deviants and misfits, outside the conventional bonds that define femininity. These female protagonists are women without family, often without men, and certainly escapees from the stultifying bonds of domesticity” (156).
Anna certainly fits this model, she does no housework and her work is that of a dancer, or possibly a prostitute, whilst Clarissa at first glance appears to be tied to the domestic or socialite lifestyle yet she is a homosexual, defying the “conventional bonds that define femininity” and escapes into her memories. The protagonists occupy spaces which defy either the heterosexual male gaze (Clarissa) or the public face of feminine respectability (Anna). Liz Heron in her introduction to Streets of Desire: Women’s Fictions of the Twentieth-Century City claims that: “the classic narrative of the city as a new beginning, a stage embarked upon in early adult…
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