Convergence of Biology and Gender Identity: A Study of Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eyes
Keywords:Biological Markers, Social Ascription, Gender Significations, Social Shame, Psychological Deprivation, Self-Hood.
The concept of gender and the related practices are born at the intersection of biology and politics. Biological markers; physical, physiological and psychological are politicized for hierarchical positioning of man and woman. The nexus between biology and politics has also generated the notion of ‘immutability’ of woman’s ‘gendered self’. Women too, having interiorized the inferiority of the self unquestioningly and have shown little inclination to redefine her-‘self’ after having accepted the nature’s role in her physical and physiological formation. The inability for better ‘self’ definition is also due to the failure to distinguish the exact point of confluence between biology and politics in the socially ascribed gender identities. Caught in the imbroglio woman has suffered crippled social and psychological consequences and the same is well substantiated in the novel The Bluest Eye by African American writer Toni Morrison. The women characters in the novel are paradigms of real life situations. While some do acutely suffer from social and psychological deprivation having interiorized the inferiority of their biological markers, others handle affirmatively the socially ascribed deprivations of their physical self by understanding the nexus between biology and cultural politics. The novel successfully explores the fact that distinct anatomical difference between man and woman or the biological identities of humans should not be the cause or source of discriminatory practices. Or in other words the novel denies the inferiority of woman as something hermetically sealed and that social factors; advantages of birth (like race and social class), socio-cultural pressures, cultivation of mental culture and many more are of great consequence for both the formation of ‘positive self- identity’ by woman and for challenging of gender significations.
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