The Silenced Body: Institutionalization of gender and gender regimes

Essay by kittycatxxUniversity, Bachelor'sA, April 2003

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In a society where the phenomenological value and history is validated through a

patriarchal order, the female identity becomes neutralized and imposed upon the

constitution corresponding to its biased and specific conditions. Thus, the female

body becomes the silenced body, the body unable of expression, deserted by it's

embodiment, and silenced by the primacy of the male culture. In this essay I will

discern the issues that negate and repress the female body of her self and identity.

I will use, for my discussion, the novels Mrs. Dalloway, by Virginia Woolf, and

Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley. Thorough the use of these novels I will convey the

opposed dualism that exists between the female and male gender, and the way in

which the latter constitute the woman's body to complement his.

The "making" of Frankenstein's monster was seen as a great achievement, a new

discovery where life could be renewed when "death had apparently devoted the body

to corruption".

In contrast, when he made the woman, Elizabeth, was neither for

victory, nor success, as for making her his own to belong and to claim; when the

monster attempts to take her, Frankenstein disputes "She is mine". Moreover, he

establishes the rationalism by which his rights over her are justified as she

pronounced his name: "say my name.... She said my name, she belongs to me".

Marjorie Garber explains of the difference between "making" a man, in contrast to

"making" a woman mean two very different things, culturally speaking:

To "make" a man is to test him; to "make" is to have intercourse with her. Like the dissymmetry of reference in Spanish between a "public man" (a statesman) and a "public woman" (a whore)...

Here the characters of the "Monster" and Elizabeth are indirectly used to narrate the

different ways...