Analysing Resistance of Stereotyped Sexuality via ‘Gender Performance’ in The Silk Fan and Under the Blanket

Nurul Soleha binti Mohd Noor, Arbaayah Ali Termizi


Existing studies had shown that gender stereotyping is still evident in contemporary Malaysian English literature particularly in novels. By using the concepts of ‘gender performance’ and ‘performativity’ introduced by Judith Butler’s Gender Trouble (1990), the current study aims to prove that there is an act of resistance among the new generations/contemporary Malaysian writers against the gender norms placed on sexuality. These writers resisted the norms by performing “gender trouble” through the construction of their characters’ gender identity. Two short stories are selected from 25 Malaysian Short Stories: Best of Silverfish New Writing 2001 – 2005 as the scope of the study to answer these questions; (a) what are the stereotyped ‘gender performances’ of the characters’ sexuality in the two selected short stories?, and (b) how do contemporary Malaysian writers resist stereotyped sexuality using ‘gender performance’ in their writings? The study found that the selected characters from the short story The Silk Fan and Under the Blanket, do perform “gender trouble” in resisting gender expectations on their sexuality. Thus, based on the results of this study, it is hoped that the misconceptions on gender and the conventional way of thinking about sexuality and gender in Malaysian society can be somewhat liberated.



Sexuality, stereotype, resistance, performance, performativity, gender trouble

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