Indeterminacy and Gender-Sexual Dichotomy in Hispanic Cultural Productions from the Early Twenieth Century to the Present

Date of Completion

January 2012


Literature, Modern|Literature, Romance|Latin American Studies|Gender Studies|Cinema




My dissertation analyzes contemporary representations of the body as a gendered/sexed (woman/female-man/male) entity in Hispanic cultural productions (novels and films). 1 suggest that these representations on the one hand, contribute, to the (re)definitions and negotiations of the gender/sex dichotomy, and on the other, hold responsibility for a process of secondary stigmatization among individuals of the same marginal groups. In my first chapter, I examine early twentieth-century Spanish feminist writer Carmen de Burgos's representation of the virile woman and the lesbian in her novels Quiero vivir mi vida (1931) and Ellos y ellas o ellas y ellos (1917) as antagonists of her portrayal of the modern woman (mujer moderna). The second chapter studies Vicente Aranda's film Cambio de sexo (Spain, 1977) and Pedro Almodóvar's Todo sobre mi madre (Spain, 1999). Whereas the first film presents the transexual/transgender male to female body in opposition to other more stigmatized female gender performativities, I suggest that the specular nature of Almodóvar's movie promotes an understanding of the human being as a relational process, as a "becoming" (Deleuze & Guattari), avoiding the fixity of a sexual/gender binarism. My third chapter examines the representation of the intersexed body in Jaime de Arminán's Mi querida señorita (Spain, 1972) and Lucía Puenzo's film, XXY (Argentina/Spain/France 2007). Throughout this section, I examine the portrayal of intersexed person as sexually ambiguous subject at Armiñán's film, and Puenzo's proposal of considering the intersexed body not as a transitory state but as a legitimate form of embodiment. The redefinitions of the conceptualization of the human body in these chapters can be regarded as a consequence of the capitalist dynamic of territorialization, deterritorialization and reterritorialization of the symbolic (Deleuze & Guattari). ^