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Engendering a new feminine identity and reconstructing consciousness-raising in Doris Lessing's selected novels


Citation

Lalbakshs, Pedram (2012) Engendering a new feminine identity and reconstructing consciousness-raising in Doris Lessing's selected novels. PhD thesis, Universiti Putra Malaysia.

Abstract / Synopsis

Looking from a socialist feminist viewpoint, the present study discusses selected Doris Lessing‟s novels to identify and analyze her engendered New Feminine Identity and her Reconstructed Consciousness-raising. Characterizing women who are entangled in patriarchal and/or capitalist systems (family or family-like structures), Lessing presents and criticizes the oppressive relations that aim to overwhelm women and make them comply with false identities. In all the societies she presents, women are defined in terms of their relations to men as the center of power to which women have limited or no access. These societies see women as an inferior secondary class whose consciousness needs to be shaped by the ideology that respects both patriarchy and capitalism‟s interests. Imbued with patriarchal capitalist ideology, women, like exploited workers, find themselves positioned in systems that essentially hinder their essential development. Showing many facets through which women are exploited, oppressed, abused and dominated, Lessing foregrounds her Engendered New Feminine Identity marked by self-confidence,desire and daring to perform a missionary role in women‟s emancipation. The findings of the study prove that despite society‟s omnipresent imposed pressures to incapacitate her characters, they are shrewdly aware of their true power and identity marked by reason, seriousness and practicality, as well as the desire and courage to revolutionize the power dynamics and educate men whom they find to be unaware of the realities of the feminine world. By placing strong female characters, New Women indeed, in contrast with impulsive undeserving monstrous males, Lessing shows the need to include a man-educating process in women‟s struggle against oppression and domination. This seems to be a part missing in socialist feminism‟s consciousness-raising, which is a highly valued strategy in women‟s struggle for emancipation and equality. While socialist feminism‟s consciousness-raising mostly focuses on and is limited to women, the inclusion of men, as Lessing shows, will be a great means to change the mentality and consciousness of the oppressor. For Lessing it is time to include the oppressor in the fight against him. Lessing‟s novels show that revolutionary action on the part of New Women will not result in success as long as the oppressor is not educated to the point where he willingly gives his power up (or a portion of it) to the benefit of women whom he must recognize as absolutely equal and deserving. Such engendered feminine characters and modified consciousness-raising will take socialist feminism a step further in its fight against the inherent oppression of patriarchy and capitalism, promising a better life for both men and women.


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Additional Metadata

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subject: Feminist criticism
Subject: Lessing, Doris May, 1919 - Criticism and interpretation
Subject: Feminism
Call Number: FBMK 2012 38
Chairman Supervisor: Associate Professor Wan Roselezam Wan Yahya, PhD
Divisions: Faculty of Modern Language and Communication
Depositing User: Haridan Mohd Jais
Date Deposited: 14 Sep 2016 11:42
Last Modified: 14 Sep 2016 11:42
URI: http://psasir.upm.edu.my/id/eprint/48415
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