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Critical Analysis of ‘The Argonauts”
In today’s society heteronormativity can be defined as a theory which is assumed and made by every human being that every human beings are classified into different genders such as female and male for identification with their perspective functioning and roles in today’s world. It is also said that heterosexuality is a norm of sexual orientation and that every sexual relationship is most and only appropriate between persons of opposite sex (Harris J, White, 2018). Heteronormative focuses on biological, gender roles, gender identity, sex, and sexuality (Nelson, 2015) (Goodman RD,2014). Normally, Heteronormativity is associated with homophobia and heterosexism (Harris J, White, 2018), (Goodman RD,2014).
Heteronormativity is also defined as a system that functions based on certain rules created by the society. These behaviors are based on the presumption of heterosexuality based on observance and behaviour of genders (Rubin,1993). It also shows lot of differences which can totally distinct genders that relates to heteronormativity (Nelson, 2015), For example by saying that men are highly capable of having a successful career in any field where as women can be only fit for cleaning, raising children, and doing household chores (Clark,2006). It focuses on gender differences. The root cause for such kind of problems are gender, demographic, cultural belief and once perception towards society and their views. Hence, it is utilized as a platform to hold all gendered expectations demanded by heteronormativity (Samuel, 2003).
Gender roles play a very important role in society. Everything is designed and based on the gender differences for example women love to go to spa, shopping and love self-care where as men would love going out for drinks, watch or play sports. If we ask men to go for spa they will not like it same way women will not like to always go and play hence it is clearly proven that everything is designed based on gender differences (Hawke.2007). These expectations are styled in such a manner that life is organized or designed in our hetero-dominated societies (Nelson, 2015). Gender differences start right from the time of birth. Color code is used to differentiate if it is a boy or a girl. If it’s a boy, they wrap thy bay in blue blanket and if it is girl they wrap the baby in pink blanket, instead of letting them enjoy the pursuit of having an independent and happy life.
The biggest challenge in today’s world is to meet certain standards which is set in the society for gender differences. It is very important to prove an individual about once character and objectify truth into social consciousness which is the main secret behind the principle of heteronormativity. “These factors are completely normalized and does not satisfy the expectations of an “unnatural” or “abnormal” human which result, in queer individuals” (Nelson, 2015), and upsets heteronormativity through discarding the script (Nelson, 2015). Relationships in heteronormative societies are based on the system of how it is been organised and classified. These classifications are based on different factors such as class, and gender. It is very common to evaluate and judge any kind of relationships for today’s generation (Nelson, 2015). In polyamorous relationship, person is committed to multiple partners having non-reproductive sex and not married however they take several additional steps away from the “normal”, thus making these forms of relations far less desired in heteronormative societies (Nelson,2015).
How the Narrative Further our Understanding of Heteronormative and Resistance
In the book Maggie Nelson, analyzes different aspects of life. She explains and elaborates about pregnancy, raising a child with her partner Harry. The book also describes and shows a view of real-life experience of how Nelson convinced her partner to parent together (Reingerde, 2010). Nelson also constantly argues and raises different points about cultural differences, and personal life experiences.
Nelson has always been a devotional person to her profession and allocated a lot of time and effort to study of philosophy and have a clear vision of this critical modern culture. From the book there was very little focus on domesticity and heteronormativity. As we read the book I noticed that the author describes and expresses various kinds of emotions based on the situations she was in. She also tells about her philosophies and contradicts with her current situations compares them with past and present life with her husband and families.
As we further go into the book Nelson describes maternity, parenthood and gender roles comparing them to heteronormative society. She also raises debate between LBGTQ community lifestyle and equality. She asks different kinds of questions like:
“But what about it is the essence of heteronormativity?” Nelson finds herself asking when a friend smugly accuses her family’s portrait as being the most heteronormative thing she, the friend, has ever seen. “What about my pregnancy?” Nelson wonders. “Is that inherently heteronormative? How can an experience so profoundly strange and wild and transformative also symbolize or enact the ultimate conformity (P. 16)?”
From the book according to my analyzation she gets confused with heteronormative culture during her pregnancy and asks several questions regarding language, traditions, cultural barriers and politics. Nelson also tries to connect the dots her professional and personal life which even included political views.
In my personal view I loved the book as it was very realistic. It is very hard to express once feeling but Nelson did an amazing job to make it feel real. It was little bit challenging to read it as there was a bit too much of elaboration about different phases of her life. The way she describes real life situations like sex, love, pregnancy, politics, family making were put together with love and whole heartedness. The book is a mixture of real life situations, personal life situations and expression of romantic feelings according to different kinds of situations with humor and criticism.
- Ball, M. (2016, April 10). A review of the Argonauts by Maggie Nelson. Paperback, 160, ISBN-13: 978-1555977351
- Cooke, V. (2017). From micro to macro: Anecdote and citation in Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts. Sydney, Australia: The University of Sydney
- Feigel, L. (2016, May 27). The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson review – A radical approach to genre. The Guardian. Retrieved October 13, 2018 from https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/mar/27/the-agronauts-maggie-nelson-observer-review
- Goodman RD, Gorski PC (2014) “Multicultural” Counseling through Social Justice. Springer. pp. 28–30. ISBN . Retrieved August 19,2018
- Harris J White V (2018). A dictionary of social work and social care. P.335 ISBN 0192516868. Retrieved August 19,2018.
- Nelson, K. (2015, July 24). What is heteronromativity – And how does it apply to your feminism? Here are 4 examples. Everyday Feminism. Retrieved October 13, 2018 from https://everydayfeminism.com/2015/07/what-is-heteronormativity/
- Nelson, M. (2015). The Argonauts. Minnepolis, MN: Graywolf Press.
- Rachel and Diane M. Clark. (2006) “Healthy Women, Healthy Men, and Healthy Adults/ An Evaluation of Gender Role Stereotypes in the Twenty-first Century.” Sex Roles 55(3-4)/247–258..” Sex Roles 55(3-4):247–258.
- Reingerde, J. (2010). Heteronormativity and silenced sexualities at work. Kultura Ir Visuomene. Socialinių tyrimų žurnalas, 1 (1). ISSN 2029-4573
- Rubin, Gayle (1993). Thinking sex: Notes for a radical theory of the Politics of Sexuality, in Vance Carole. Pleasure and Danger: Exploring Female Sexuality (1993).
- Salamon, G. (2016). The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson (review). philoSOPHIA 6(2), 303-306. 10.1353/phi.2016.0028. State University of New York Press. Retrieved December 19, 2018, from Project MUSE database
- Schaberg, C. (2015, December 9). A book review that is not one: On Maggie Nelson’s the Argonauts. 3: Am Magazine. Retrieved October 13, 2018 from https://www.3ammagazine.com/3am/a-book-review-that-is-not-one-on-maggie-nelsons-the-argonauts/
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