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Gender Roles in Manuel Puig's The Kiss of the Spider Woman - Essay Example

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Me interesaba un personaje femenino que creyese todava en la existencia del macho superior, y lo primero que se me ocurri fue que hoy ese personaje no poda ser una mujer, porque una mujer de hoy da, de alguna manera ya duda; a estas alturas ya duda que exista ese partner que la va a gular en todo" (Osario, 1977, p…
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Gender Roles in Manuel Puigs The Kiss of the Spider Woman
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Download file to see previous pages So, the author continues,
"En cambio, un homosexual, con fijacin femenina, si, todava, puede defender esa ideologa, porque, como desea ser mujer, pero no puede realizar la experiencia de sea mujer, no puede llegar a desengaarse y sigue el engavio, en el sueiio de que la realizacin de la mujer esta en encontrar un hombre que la va a guiar y que se va a ocupar de ella, lo cual es buscar un padre y no un compaero" (Osario, p. 53).
Puig subtly unfolds another aspect of his project: writing about a homosexual. It does not stop surprising us how or why this aspect of his writing has to be grounded with an explanation "beforehand!" That is, by framing the homosexual character of the novel, Molina, first, as "a feminine character who still believed in the existence of a superior man" and, then, as a "homosexual, with feminine fixations," Puig is showing us a certain anxiety regarding homosexuality in his writing. Puig's presentation of Molina is an excuse. It is important to highlight this particular moment in the author's explanation (or excuse) for the homosexual subject because, after presenting such a brilliant feminist reading of the homosocial valorisation of the superior macho, he almost obsessively and uncritically positions the homosexual within the heterosexual matrix as produced by the Oedipal complex--the Freudian "structure" of which he is critical in the footnotes of El beso. How do we reconcile both of the author's positions--on the one hand, his more challenging perspective that informs the construction of masculinity as the fantasy of the homosocial; on the other hand, a reductive and misogynist reading of male homosexuality as a desire to become and appropriate .the "feminine" Moreover, how do we read homosexuality outside the Oedipal complex
When we consider the question of sexuality in the text, we must look not simply at writing about homosexual themes or a homosexual character in a "popular" novel, but--and more importantly--the author's own gayness. A consideration of sexual difference as epistemology illuminates our critical reading of a text (Sedgwick, 1991). Along these lines, a reading of El beso de la mujer araa must not only focus on the construction of Molina's sexual identity, the homosexual "with feminine fixations" as a performer of transvestism; but, also, analyze the transvestitic performance of Valentin as a Marxist. This essay will show that ideology--in this case, oppositional revolutionary politics-signals a transvestitic performance; and, that this ideological transvestism necessarily sublimates the homoerotics of any heterosexual male encounter. That is, every male "event" connotes a hidden homosexual embrace. The politics of denying this embrace shamelessly produce the language of sexism and homophobia.
The structure of the El beso de la mujer araa is simple: Valentin, a political prisoner, and Molina share a cell where Molina's retelling of B-movies make the time spent there easier. Before looking at some of the stories told by the prisoners, I would like to evaluate the importance the prison takes as a site of narration. One cannot help thinking of an Arcipreste de Hita or a Cervantes who wrote his masterpiece in/from prison. The architectural design of a prison influences Molina's fantastic story-telling: the close walls must be transcended with complex narratives and performances (Merrim, 1981).
If spaces can be labelled "heterosexual," "lesbian," "educational," ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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