American International Journal of Social Science

ISSN 2325-4149(Print), ISSN 2325-4165(Online) DIO: 10.30845/aijss

Controversial Enactments of Gender-Crossing in Maxine Hong Kingston’s Writings
Dr. Sihem Arfaoui

The gender journeys of certain male and female characters in The Woman Warrior (1975) and China Men (1982), by Maxine Hong Kingston, mirror contentious instances of gender interruption in breaking down the hierarchy between genders. By negating exclusive sex and gender paradigms, the considered texts partake in debunking a sex / gender system based on sexism and misogyny. They adopt strategies which include the crossover from femininity to masculinity and vice versa. Kingston not only dismantles the dichotomous thinking that requires and imposes the superiority of masculinity over femininity, but also provides a counter-reading of femininity as “a sex which is not one” (Irigaray 254). At the same time, in neither text does Kingston perfectly overcome a certain degree of adhering to and affirming gender binarism. In certain respects, her works follow in the footsteps of phallogocentric denotations of sex / gender differences by giving utter validity to the word and male realm.Thus, despite the fact of belying biological readings of natural castration and its attributes and grounding them in cultural apparatuses, Kingston’s gender accounts do not consistently depart from the conviction to interpret a feminine identity as failure. Beyond the psychological effects of those disruptions, Kingston’s two texts amount to a catalogue of relative resistance to the androcentric misogynist bases of every binary gender figuration.

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