Abstract

Abstract:

This article examines how Cuban-Mexican writer Julieta Campos reevaluates passivity as a transformative force in feminism. Unlike contemporaneous authors such as Rosario Castellanos who define feminism as productive activity, I argue that in her book of short stories, Celina o los gatos (1968), Campos takes an inverse trajectory, deploying nonhuman material passivity in order to unravel the logic of the self-actualized liberal subject. Rather than articulate feminism as empowerment—directed toward reform and positivity—Campos imagines withdrawal, silence, and motionlessness as non-normative ways to resist prescribed purpose. In the titular story of her book of short stories, "Celina o los gatos," Campos imagines depression as an affective mode that figures the Mexican bourgeois housewife. The gendered construction of the pet—a sentimental and non-utilitarian accessory that inhabits the domestic space—is used to invoke the commonplace that the housewife is a similarly domesticated creature. While on the one hand, the housewife's negative feelings of depressive domesticity manifest themselves as inaction and withdrawal, I argue that Campos reconfigures passive negativity into a critique of the productivity mandated by traditional femininity as well as by the Women's Liberation movement.

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Additional Information

ISSN
2164-9308
Print ISSN
0034-818X
Pages
pp. 51-74
Launched on MUSE
2018-05-05
Open Access
No
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