VIII. Telling tales and making excuses

Rocco, Sharn (2003) VIII. Telling tales and making excuses. Feminism & Psychology, 13 (4). pp. 459-463.

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Within daily life the romantic myth of ‘one day my prince will come’ offers an exclusive and socially legitimate resolution to the gendered contradictions and uncertainties of being and self, of belonging and individuality, of rights and responsibilities. Feminist discourses generally view love as being hijacked by romance and marriage as a key site of women’s subordination and oppression. Within the prevailing interplay of liberal humanist discourses and common practices that Haug (1987) describes as ‘daily training in normality’, the romantic myth is conveyed implicitly, explicitly, repeatedly and variously as an expected and accepted resolution of the tensions and tenuousness of contradictory positions on offer to women and girls. Over time, marriage becomes both desired and anticipated as a condition and a symbol of successful womanhood and the possibility of living happily ever after.

The story I start with illustrates tensions and contradictions within my lived experiences of being ‘feminist’ and ‘wife’. It is a story of circumstances in which feminism and heterosexist discourses and desire become confused and conflated in the emotional life, the comfort and the ‘normality’ of being positioned as wife and mother. The positions of ‘wife’, ‘mother’ and ‘feminist’ are constituted in, and weave together, discourses of the individual, of biological determinism and of rights and responsibilities. This discursive tapestry of daily life has silence as its warp and patriarchal history as its loom. The gendered weaving of discourses and silence conveys the romantic myth in ways that turn matters of history into matters of nature (Barthes, 1972; Rocco, 1999).

Item ID: 6330
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1461-7161
Keywords: discourse; heterosexuality; marriage; subjectivity
Date Deposited: 17 Feb 2010 23:13
FoR Codes: 20 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 2002 Cultural Studies > 200205 Culture, Gender, Sexuality @ 75%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1699 Other Studies in Human Society > 169901 Gender Specific Studies @ 25%
SEO Codes: 94 LAW, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY SERVICES > 9401 Community Service (excl. Work) > 940113 Gender and Sexualities @ 100%
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