“Subjugated Agency”: Critiquing Duality in the Discourse of Femininity in the Borderlands

Author Name

Sudipta Chakraborty

Author Address

Jadavpur University, India


Feminism, Borderlands, Gendered Bodies


The adjective “Bordered bodies” not only demarcates physical positionality but is also  symptomatic of the bordered consciousness. Borderlands are essentially gender biased. This paper aims to focus on the notion of femininity in the US-Mexico border region with reference to the Juarez femicide and its literary representation in Alicia Gaspar de Alba’s novel Desert Blood: The Juarez Murders (2005).  The brutal femicide has showcased the intolerance which emanates from a fundamentalist ethos of chauvinism in the borderlands. The paper will view the Juarez femicide and its literary representation from the perspective of feminist and gender theories. Femininity becomes a fluid concept in the borderlands.  The Latino women gain some agency with the migration of the male members to the North though, from a distant locale, they remain under the surveillance of the male members. The simultaneous experience of possessing some agency and of being suppressed is something which constitutes the distinct notion of femininity in the US-Mexico border. The sense of duality deconstructs the static notion of femininity, providing a space for remapping the notion of femininity.



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