“Male” Mannerisms


"Burning dinner is not incompetence but war." -Marge Piercy

Marge Piercy’s 1976 novel Women on the Edge of Time explores life outside of an oppressive box.  She creates a fantastical world in which people are recognized by their strengths and interests as opposed to their gender or race.  She takes her readers on a mind expanding journey that challenges what most have accepted as a social Truth, and then removes the boundaries containing such truths through the eyes of the story’s main character Consuelo Ramos.

Consuelo, also called Connie in the story, is a woman who has had her version of reality beaten into her.  As a child and a blank slate she could see the faults in the society in which she was a part of.  She was angered at the unfair treatment of women in her own home.  She noticed that her mother treated her older sibling Luis, a male child different and better then she.  Connie also noticed that her mother lived a thankless life and vowed never to be like her.  “I’ll never grow up to be like you, Mama!   To suffer and serve” (38).  To which her mother responded; “You’ll do what women do.  You’ll pay your debt to your family for your blood. “(38)  Connie’s mother knew something that young Connie would not be aware of until she had a man of own, children of her own,  discrimination all her own.

However, all of these assumed truths come to an abrupt halt once Connie encounters Luciente, the woman who moves like a man.  Connie’s expectations of the manner in which a woman should look, act, and move were so ingrained that she did not recognize a woman outside of her projected expectations.  “Lucient spoke, she moved with that air of brisk unselfconscious authority Connie associated with men.  Luciente sat down, taking up more space than women ever did.  She squatted, she sprawled, she strolled, never thinking about how her body was displayed” (59).

Without even noticing Connie had become her mother.  She stopped seeing what she saw as a child, which was what women deserve as opposed to what was tossed to them.  Like her mother she had given up on the idea that she could live her own life… until Luciente.  As I traveled through the journey of the pages of this book, I had the pleasure and the opportunity of digging a little deeper in order to see what “truths” the little girl in me had given up on.  What unnoticed thoughts have crept into my mind and caused me to become a coconspirator in my own oppression?  Luciente, a most appropriate name for one who enlightens both inside and outside of the story.

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2 Comments on ““Male” Mannerisms”

  1. I think you make a good social commentary in this post. When we are young, we are very idealistic and we see the world for what it “really” is (racism, discrimination, oppression, etc.). Somehow, along the way into adulthood, we end up conforming to the roles society preset for us. My question to you is, when and why does that change take place? Is it when we have so many tasks to do in a day that we focus on doing what we have to do to survive instead of our ideologies? Or, maybe on a subconscious level, we learn that conforming to our roles makes society run better? It’s a very thought-provoking question that I’m not sure I can answer.

    • loved82press Says:

      I am not sure that there is one right answer as to “why” it happens. I believe that the two reasons you’ve considered are logical assumptions, but there are more contributing factors to consider. Some contributing factors may occur on a subconscious level, while others are just a part of the socializing processes in our society. The United States of America prides itself on being the land of choice and opportunity. However, that does not mean that members of our society to not comply with conformity, it just means that because we have so many choices we often do not notice how often we conform. This text helped me to think about some of the social biases that I have conformed to (accepted gender roles and expectations) on a subconscious level. My question to you is; What biases, if any, have you unknowingly accepted (consciously or subconsciously) and began to question after reading this text?

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