Download e-book for kindle: Looking Like What You Are: Sexual Style, Race, and Lesbian by Lisa Walker

By Lisa Walker

Looks may be deceiving, and in a society the place one's prestige and entry to chance are mostly attendant on actual visual appeal, the difficulty of ways distinction is built and interpreted, embraced or effaced, is of great import.

Lisa Walker examines this factor with a spotlight at the questions of what it capacity to seem like a lesbian, and what it capacity to be a lesbian yet to not seem like one. She analyzes the old construction of the lesbian physique as marked, and reviews how lesbians have used the widespread analogy among racial distinction and sexual orientation to craft, emphasize, or deny actual distinction. particularly, she explores the consequences of a predominantly seen version of sexual identification for the female lesbian, who's either marked and unmarked, wanted and disavowed.

Walker's textual research cuts throughout numerous genres, together with modernist fiction similar to The good of Loneliness and Wide Sargasso Sea, pulp fiction of the Harlem Renaissance, the Fifties and the Sixties, post-modern literature as Michelle Cliff's Abeng, and queer theory.

In the book's ultimate bankruptcy, "How to acknowledge a Lesbian," Walker argues that suggestions of visibility are every now and then deconstructed, every now and then reinscribed inside of modern lesbian-feminist theory.

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35 But that more traditional understanding of modernism might be hostile to some of the texts that this project studies, such as The Well of Loneliness and Strange Brother, which “fail” in the category of literariness because they are conventional, and sometimes sentimental, realist narratives. 36 These anxieties cut across boundaries of genre and are apparent in the writing and reception of texts that do not fall into the category of literary modernism. The first chapter describes how Radclyffe Hall’s The Well of Loneliness registers a turn-ofthe-century shift in the construction of homosexuality in relation to discourses of in/visibility.

This is an argument that 30 • Martyred Butches and Impossible Femmes Catherine Stimpson makes in her essay “Gertrude Stein and the Lesbian Lie,” where she asserts that “both autobiographies pull back from Stein’s upsetting challenge to representational codes and generic conventions. Telling her comic stories, Stein writes of modern art . . ”26 For Stimpson, the autobiographies are at once too transparent and too silent. 27 On the other hand, the autobiographies reserve the information that the relationship was both a domestic and a sexual partnership.

Always repressed until it grows stronger much than my spirit because of this unnatural repression”; therefore, she reasons “I shall never be a great writer because of my maimed and insufferable body. . true genius in chains, in the chains of the flesh, a fine spirit subject to physical bondage” (1982:217–18). 40 But the binary system of gender and sexual opposition censors her relation to her sexuality. In her agonized scrutiny of her naked form, Stephen imagines literalizing the violence that this binary enacts on a body that both represents the blurring of the masculine and the feminine (muscles become breasts and curves become lines) and signifies deviant sexual desires: She hated her body with its muscular shoulders, its small compact breasts, and its slender flanks of an athlete.

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