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Spilka is right. This provisional and contingent approach to gender is ificant. Even more so is the fact that it is in a later novel that such an uncertainty and tenuousness of gender is fictionally posited. This deliberate attempt to unsettle and disrupt the established notions of gender not only justifies our study, it is something which calls for a full-length study that is beyond the scope of the present article.
Our grouping of all these feminist theorists, without pointing to the specificity of their respective approaches to gender, does not mean that all of them subscribe to a common, shared viewpoint on the main issues in gender studies.
We do not wish to suggest that Lawrence shares all their concerns but he would probably have agreed on most of the central issues raised by contemporary feminists. We have already pointed out that Lawrence critics have in recent times mostly concentrated on questions of gender. We shall also examine the question of the extent to which Lawrence in his non-fictional writings anticipated and approximated the central ideas in contemporary gender theory.
Men are associated with the spheres of labour, sport and physical combat and the public sphere in general whereas women are associated with the sphere of home where they are to play twin roles as mother and as the object of male desire. Lawrence had died inlong before the emergence of these new theories of gender.
Yet from such a historical distance, Lawrence had shown his awareness of what the central issues of contemporary gender studies are. The child enters the gendered space when it separates itself from its mother, with the result that its sexual desire is thus formed. It is this super-ego which gives him greater access to culture. The girl however takes a different route.
Subsequently she develops self-hate and resentment towards the mother when she discovers that she has no penis. She develops penis envy and replaces the erotic zone of the clitoris with the female vagina, thus shifting from sexual pleasure to reproduction.
Women, for Freud, do not experience castration anxiety that develops the super-ego and they therefore have limited participation in culture. Although Lawrence viewed man and woman in terms of their inescapable duality in matters of sex, his conception of gender defies Freudian determinism. For Freud, gender is constructed once and for all. Lawrence opposes this approach, constantly shifting his emphasis from one gender to another. Rather he points to the leakiness of the watertight compartments of the male and the female.
In this schema, gender is more performative than a fixed identity. Lawrence, in his critique of culture, is against all kinds of fixed norms, and the norms of gender are no exception. In Fantasia of the Unconscious. Some men must be too spiritual, some must be too sensual. Some must be too sympathetic, some must be too proud. We have no desire to say what men ought to be. We only wish to say there are all kinds of ways of being, and there is no such thing as human perfection.
For Lacan, gender is a part of a linguistic network which precedes and structures the formation of the linguistic subject. He insists that the subject itself is formed through its subjection to sexual difference. The distinction between the sexes is ificant in Lacanian theory. A train arrives at a station. A little boy and a little girl, brother and sister, are seated in a compartment face to face next to the window through which the buildings along the station platform can be seen passing as the train pulls to a stop.
Both have lost the sense of plenitude experienced in the early symbiosis with the mother. The child enters the Symbolic order with its specific gender distinction. The Lacanian concept of gender lacks fluidity and therefore leaves almost no scope for any change or modification of gender.
Sexual difference, which is synonymous with gender difference in Lacan, appears to constitute the very matrix which gives rise to the subject itself. For Lawrence, the formation of the subject is never complete and sexual difference does not influence subject formation in any ificant way.
Both men and women mistake the other for the Other. For Lawrence, the maternal plenitude is not lost for ever. Men and women have an access to it through the sympathetic centre of consciousness, the solar plexus. Maternal identification is the initial orientation for children of both sexes. The girls sustain the primary identification with the mother, while the boy repudiates it Cranny-Francis For these theorists:. Cranny-Francis 3—4.
Unlike them, Lawrence did not envisage a social reconstruction of gender. He is thus not very far from the agenda of Klein and Chodrow. In this respect Lawrence displays a further correspondence with Elizabeth Grosz. For Lawrence, it is as natural for a woman to desire a woman as it is for a man to desire a woman. For Freud, by contrast, it is a negative desire. Foucault makes it clear that sexuality in post-Enlightenment thought is the overloaded focus of the discursive strategies of power and knowledge.
For Butler, neither gender nor sex are inherent biological features. Heterosexuality is thus a term that constructs rather than simply classifies human sexuality and the gendering of individual subjects. For Lawrence, gender is discursive, though not sex. There is no intermingling, only a great change of roles is possible. The great thing is to keep the sexes pure.
We mean pure maleness in a man, pure femaleness in a woman […]. Women and men are dynamically different in everything. Fantasia Like Butler, Lawrence suggests that gender is not a fact but is inherently performative.
This act-like status of gender performativity is anticipated by Lawrence. All mere devices for avoiding any contact with her. A woman is not a model of anything. The compulsory heterosexual imperative has it that women are to conform to models, a conception to which Lawrence is opposed. We only know a few crude forms—mistress, wife, mother, sweet-heart. The woman is like an idol, or a marionette, always forced to play one role or the other: sweet-heart, mistress, wife, mother.
Such a notion is a reflection of the fundamental lack of any foundational ground of truth. For Butler, performing the body fabricates identity in all sorts of ways, of which gender is one important component.
Price His concept of the unconscious as the ground of all our identity also focuses on the constructedness of identity. In his view, the unconscious is. The processes of cause and effect are indeed part of the working out of this incomprehensible self-realization of the individual unconscious.
As Butler says:. In both cases, that of the materialization of sex and of the self-realization of the unconscious, the process is never complete. In fact his philosophy of love and existence is built on it. His destabilization of gender identity is thus an essential part of his philosophy. Selected Essays 33— Although he sometimes deplores the assumption of male roles by female, as in the lines quoted above, his emphasis on the reorientation of male-female roles is insistent in his criticism of culture.
He denounces the emphasis on the male principle in Judeo-Christian culture. Theorists like Donna Haraway have argued that the body of the late twentieth century and beyond is determined neither by biological givens nor by discursive regimes of power on a Foucauldian model, and have contended that it constitutes a field of conflicting and unstable flows that partake of the revolution in informatics Price Haraway contributes to a non-hierarchical and non-binary construction of gendered subjectivity. In the field of cyber feminism, the dispersal of the normative body is taken for granted, and the distinctions between human and machine, between male and female, actual and virtual, lose currency.
This specified project of queering what counts as natural, and the more recent Queer theory, are deliberately transgressive and unsettling for the stability of gender norms.
The sense of fluidity in gender, emphasized in the radical and Queer Theory, is also implied in Lawrence. The primacy of fluidity over fixity is a Lawrencian priority. Lawrence the thinker and the critic of culture is committed to a certain inconclusiveness that gives priority to fluidity as against fixity. Apart from the Birkin-Gerald relationship in Women in LoveLawrence speaks in favour of a space for homosexuality within an heterosexual matrix in his non-fictional writings.
Foucault has the same emphasis on homosexuality. In PhoenixLawrence reiterates:. Marriage and deathless friendship, both should be inviolable and sacred, two great creative passions, separate, apart, but complementary: the one pivotal, the other adventurous; the one marriage, the centre of human life; the other, the leap ahead. This issue of bi-sexuality is taken up by Marjorie Garber, the contemporary feminist. Long before the formulation of the theory of bisexuality, Lawrence had expressed his distrust for the heterosexual rigid parameters because of their inadequacy.
She shows how the notion of romance is implicated in maintaining a cultural definition of love that is detrimental to women Cranny-Francies The bond of love!
What worst bondage can we conceive than the bond of love? It is an attempt to wall in the tide; it is a will to arrest the spring, never to let May dissolve into June, never to let the hawthorn petal fall for the berrying. Cranny-Francis His awareness of the disruptive power of transvestism can therefore only be partly identified with the contemporary cultural practice and theory. Recent feminists such as Luce Irigiray and Cixous clearly share this perception. For them, as for Lawrence, the destruction of sexual difference would amount to the undesirable destruction of desire. Keith Brown, ed.
Philadelphia: Open University Press,12— The Complete Critical Guide to D. A Glossary of Cultural Theory. London: Arnold, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. New York: Routledge, Janet Price and Margrit Shildrick, eds. Gender Trouble. Gender Studies: Terms and Debates. New York: Palgrave, Ethics: Subjectivity and Truth.Girls for sex Lawrence
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ly deported lawn worker paid girl $9 for sex act on Lawrence school grounds