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By Vek Lewis (auth.)
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Additional resources for Crossing Sex and Gender in Latin America
How do they understand their referentiality to the social world in which they are produced? Do their theories simply reframe their objects of analysis in abject and totalizing ways? As Namaste states, “Critics within queer theory write about the figural representation of transsexuals only to deny their literal referents,” which she calls erasure (2000, 51). Erasure for her “designates a social context in which transsexual and transgendered people are reduced to the merely figural: rhetorical tropes and discursive levers invoked to talk about social relations of gender, nation or class that preempt the very possibility of transsexual bodies, identities and lives” (51–52).
Interestingly, Sarmiento himself also warned of the afeminamiento (feminization) of Argentinian literature and culture, which for him represented an emasculation of the virility of the society and the nation. Weak in their dispositions and unnatural in their passions, both racial and sexual subjects, then, were perceived as a threat to the harmony of the imagined social corpus and theorized as a contamination of the national body. Perhaps it is unsurprising to find that the metaphors of abjection and otherness used in reference to the aforementioned racial others are also deployed in reference to locas, travestis, and transsexuals.
It refers to simulation and the covering up of a lack. Travestismo is a movement, a chain of infinitely deployed signifiers that have no fixed signified. 12 Travestismo concerns a play of surfaces, a successive presentation of masks. The lack or defect to which Sarduy refers concerns castration anxiety and this drives the travesti to cross-dress. ” As “he” cross-dresses, he keeps his penis, which reminds him he is still a man. This accentuates the feeling of masculinity and compensates for the sense of psychic loss effected by the fantasy of castration.