Heroic Desire: Lesbian Identity and Cultural Space
"Lesbians are adept at constructing survival strategies. Our being in this world exacts a cost, and our identities mutate to incorporate and resist that cost. The reality of our world is our relentless demand for presence, an occupation of space which we have colonized for ourselves, in the name of a configuration of desires we call 'lesbian', -- the more reflective we can become about these tactics, the more powerful is our rhetoric of existence".
This book is concerned with the ways contemporary lesbians have taken up imaginative and material space. It describes the mechanics of presence, how modern lesbians have produced a discursive space which offers a refutation to the closet. Identities are produced, expressed, and authenticated by and through space. Understanding "real" and metaphorical spatial structures helps us to discover new sites of presence and resistance. Some famous spaces, such as New York, Paris, and Berlin, have been constitutive of modern gay and lesbian identities. Social spaces teach us something about the relations of domination and subordination around us, and we have seen recently in that struggle "to be", a growing politics of location and locatedness.
Space is also taken imaginatively. Our narratives, which have become moral and political handbooks, provide role models for building and consolidating identities and communities. By processes of interpretation, drawing from literary and cultural theory, the author displays ways in
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Bastard out of Carolina's indictment of heterosexual masculinity codifies it as a
feminist text, its reiteration of shame ('I lived in a world of shame'53) and its
formula of heroic survival metonymically connote its parallel with lesbian
describes how the experience of exclusion provides the motor for ethnic
nationalism. He proposes the pride/shame hypothesis: 'Pride generates and
signals solidarity, shame is an indicator and cause of alienation.'54 Scheff
describes shame ...
Helen Block Lewis, Shame and Guilt in Neurosis. International Universities Press
, 1971. 56. Scheff, 'Emotions and identity', p. 90. 57. Gershen Kaufman, Shame:
The Power of Caring. Rochester, VT: Schenkman Books Inc., 1992, p. 8. SS.Ibid.
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