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Conventional views of heterosexual union understand it, mainly, as the triumph of unity over diversity, with complementarity the dominant quality of the relationship. In this paradigm, men and women each bring particular knowledges to the connection. These knowledges and qualities cluster around the view of men as active but emotionally limited, while women are passive and yet emotionally sophisticated. The two gendered binary oppositions: active/passive and rational/emotional form the focus of my chapter, which examines literary representations of true love in two trilogies: Murakami’s IQ84 and Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Games. Aomame, the female lead in IQ84, and Katniss Everdeen, her counterpart in the Hunger Games trilogy, both transgress gender norms in significant ways. Aomame is a sports instructor, obsessed with fitness and care of the body, whose spare time is occupied by killing men who abuse women. Katniss Everdeen is a hunter and killer, both by choice and, as the series progresses, in order to ensure survival. These two protagonists violate stereotypes of women as passive objects of male desire. Their male partners, Tengo Kawana and Peeta Mellark, display corresponding degrees of emotional vulnerability and passivity, thus also transgressing hegemonic constructions of masculinity. The unions of Aomame and Tengo, and Katniss and Peeta, take place under highly romanticised circumstances, and within the larger literary frame of locations that lie at a tangent to consensus reality. In this way, these two texts espouse a pessimistic view of love and gender performativity, despite a degree of gender rebellion.

In: Fluid Gender, Fluid Love

Abstract

This chapter explores well-known fabulist Ursula K. Le Guin’s writing about mothers. Le Guin is celebrated for her science fiction and fantasy, but her poetry is comparatively neglected. In order to remedy this situation, the chapter examines both fiction and poetry, with greater focus on the latter. Julia Kristeva’s theory on mothers’ role in children’s language acquisition and subject formation as well as Bracha Lichtenberg Ettinger’s matrixial theory are employed to illuminate the ambivalence towards mothers in Le Guin’s creative work. While Le Guin often portrays mothers as deficient in emotional presence, particularly in her fiction, her poetry contains traces of a matrixial relationship in which the material, as embodied touch, brings mother and daughter closer together than can be explained through a constructionist model alone.

In: Entanglements and Weavings: Diffractive Approaches to Gender and Love
This edited volume focuses on gender and love as emerging through complex “entanglements and weavings”. At a time when constructionist ideas are losing support, we interrogate theoretical paradigms to assess if constructionist notions still hold value or if new approaches are needed to address the effects of materiality and non-human agency. Without claiming any unison or definite answers, we offer situated, agential cuts into gender and love in various discursive-material phenomena, including Biblical and Rabbinic literature, ecosexual performance art, the writings of Ursula Le Guin and Angela Carter, butch identities, Bengali folktales, Ferzan Özpetek’s cinema, Golem literature, sexual pursuits in Danish nightlife, mother-daughter relationships, women warriors in the PKK, and BDSM performances. Artistic photographer Sara Davidmann has contributed to the book with the cover illustration and a creative afterword including seven photographs on the interaction between the photographer, her studio, and LGBTQ+ people.
In: Entanglements and Weavings: Diffractive Approaches to Gender and Love
In: Entanglements and Weavings: Diffractive Approaches to Gender and Love
In: Entanglements and Weavings: Diffractive Approaches to Gender and Love
In: Entanglements and Weavings: Diffractive Approaches to Gender and Love
In: Entanglements and Weavings: Diffractive Approaches to Gender and Love
In: Fluid Gender, Fluid Love