By Ariana DiPreta
This essay won first place in the Diversity Studies category of Geneseo’s Writing Contest of 2016. The award is entitled Jérome de Romanet de Beaune Award for an Essay.
Attitudes towards sexuality, specifically British attitudes, during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries reflected the colonial and patriarchal constructions that created repressive sexual codes. Michel Foucault, moreover, argues that gender norms and sexuality are socially constructed and reinforced by the bourgeoisie. This is the result of a patriarchal society that supports monogamous marriages and creates a binary dichotomy between masculinity and femininity. James Joyce’s Ulysses deconstructs strict postcolonial bourgeois modes of sexual normalcy, proliferating sexuality in his portrayal of Leopold Bloom, who represents the feminine male lacking classical “maleness” falsely associated with men. Joyce dismantles the influences of imperial codes of dualistic sexuality, fabricated to substantiate separations of the imperial state and their colony through Bloom and his relationship with Molly. In doing so, Joyce mocks the system of gendered symbols upon which people and his characters operate. Read more