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For essentialists, there are collective properties possessed by women that are vital to their identity and representation. For essentialists, the natural biological creates the social, while constructionists believe the natural to be produced by the social Fuss She relied on the essentialist view in her poetry because of stringent social surroundings. The universality of essentialism claims that women have the exclusive right to describe and evaluate womanhood on their own terms. For example she wrote: She depicted mothers as passive toward their most common rights, sacrificing all for the welfare of their family, yet highlighted them as the caretakers who were the cradle that generated successful and powerful men.

In other words, she used the notion of motherhood, a concept that was well defined by the masculine society, to generate a liberated spirit of women. However, she created a new representation of woman that discarded most previous representations—beyond the biological, naturalistic role of motherhood laid the social construct.

Her verse redefined women, presenting a new understanding of what it really is to be a women, using the most familiar and revered feminine aspect recognizable, that of motherhood. It portrayed motherhood as imperative and emphasized that Iranian society needs nurturing, a role that woman are capable of fulfilling. The slandering is historical; it arises from a culture of male hegemony. Moreover, the notion of motherhood highlighted the dichotomy between right and wrong, good and evil. The theme of fatherhood is evident in countless Iranian works of literature, where a male figure—an older man, such as a grandfather, father, older relative, brother, epic war hero, religious cleric, or sufi devotee—is viewed as the ultimate source of inspiration and wisdom for others Shafie-Katkanie Iranian literature has an extensive tradition of male domination.

Her verse was absorbed by the idea that motherhood is explicitly an act of human being, involving individuals with free souls and will.

Defiance Poems

She did not mystify the concept of motherhood, but instead redefined its true and mundane quintessence. This inward inquiry about individuality for each woman—a shift from collectivism to individualism—advocated autonomy, where each woman could reevaluate and reinvigorate her identity according to her own free will and beliefs. Who can build a house without a foundation? It is tempting to resist an account that defines women as having certain features essential to their being such as the possibility of motherhood , since Iranian women, like all others, are vastly diverse in their experiences and beliefs.

Yet, her outward essentialist representation—a form of collectivism—was a shared appeal that offered women a unified voice. Nevertheless, she allowed a great degree of sovereignty for each woman to revalue her position both privately and publicly. While motherhood as a practice is religiously devotional and culturally revered, reading various definitions of this term in Farsi dictionaries allows one to notice the subtle, yet powerful nuances this concept carries, nuances that prompt misogynist subjugation of women.

In fact, motherhood is in opposition to the male-defined characterizations of what it means to be a mother. It is something achieved, and achieved not in isolation but with the aid and support of conditions, cultural and physical: No ignorant mother ever raised a scholar. Despite our helpless plight let each one of us take flight to the moon!

The organic development of individualism meant that although women may not come to rule over their male counterparts, and also may not seek to do so, they could enjoy a natural growth as partakers in, and equal members of, Iranian society. As a result of this prejudiced perspective on the sexes, women must write about their condition. Furthermore, women are forced to stress the moral worth of their individuality, to value their self-dependence and desire and recognize that all humans as individuals are worthy of the struggle toward and dream of liberation.

This sense of individualism was in defiance of what had determined their natures; it opposed common perceptions. It was a viewpoint that parted from the normative practices, by embracing a newfound agency that disentangled, or even dismantled, the social construct, resulting in a self- consciousness for each woman that reshaped her identity according to her own will. It was a discursive social understanding that brought forth a new idea of what it means to be a woman. It created a social boundary between the sexes.

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Motherhood referred no longer to subjugated individuals, but to autonomous individual subjects. The becoming of women is a socialized concept that created a split in the social characterization of men and women. This demarcation between the two sexes, I argue, can be seen as the overture to understanding sex and gender identity in Iran. It was a point of departure socially, whereby each individual was able to redraw her position based on the insights of such a gender role. Through constant recitations and repetitions of verse, a mechanism is formed that reshapes the thinking of the reader, triggering the self-consciousness, prompting the individual to reconstruct new models of behaviour and action over time.

Her verse became a form of resistance against the male culture simply because it was read and recited frequently, making it a constant reminder that eventually reshaped the psyches of her readers. Such repeated acts reinforce and restructure the perception and behaviour of the audience. Poetry is a medium that can convey its message organically, through recitation becoming a stylized action that repeats its message to the reader, a message that over time becomes part of the new social understanding and behaviour of an individual.

The appetite for human self-formation and exploration is a form of individualism that opposes social constructs by constantly recreating new behavior that breaks free from previous impositions. On the one hand, women are depicted in accordance with collectivism and the universal appeal of the interdependent, ensemble, communal and relational. Each of these two notions is a separation from submission to and compliance with men; it is a redrawing of gender boundaries, and therefore a challenge to the power structure and a form of resistance.

But to be reconciled with the normative masculine claims, she thought, was to surrender to limitations, to deny the possibility of change. It also veers from collectivism toward individualism, since any idea taught, or imitated, is responded to and executed differently by each specific actor. This means that gender creates actors who perform the acts; thus, it is the individual under transformation and not the group.

Motherhood, in essence, is performative. Motherhood was a matter of socialization, and constantly changing, because women carry out and define each act according to their own understanding.

List of Defiance Poems

While different groups of Iranian women would naturally perceive these two issues to carry a range of meanings and actions according to their beliefs and cultural backgrounds, it is nevertheless action that generates discursive thinking, allowing a separation from previous ideals of womanhood and the creation of new modes of behavior. As Butler explains, particular gendered behaviors are accepted and expected, and individuals are anticipated to acknowledge these performances of gendered behavior.

The common perception associated with masculinity and femininity, therefore, is an act of sorts, a performance imposed upon a culture by normative heterosexuality Butler Her life she spent in isolation; she died in isolation. No one ever lived centuries in darkness like her. Her poems offer performative actors the awareness to negotiate or re-contemplate their social position through the generated discursive thinking on female issues.

The notion of motherhood is a reenactment intended to initiate agency, helping women become agents of resistance who set limitations upon the dominating power. In fact, a stable subject would jeopardize the opportunity to create change; it cannot oppose the societal structure Lloyd Acknowledging that the subject is permanently in-process does not mean that politically feminists cannot act, at times, as if women share features in common, even an essential, unchanging womanliness There are times where there is no choice but to temporarily reify certain features of identity in order to make political demands: To argue that subjects are not unified and do not pre-exist discourse, society, or power, is thus to offer a necessary challenge to the idea that the stable subject precedes, and is independent of, politics, but not to deny that feminist politics are possible.

The subject-in-process searches constantly for new knowledge and encounters.

Defiance: A Narrative Poem

This means that identity is never fixed. Motherhood presents the possibilities of denaturalizing, proliferating and unfixing identities in order to reveal the constructed nature of women; in essence it produces and reproduces new positionality for women.

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The patriarchal social structure is analogous to an egg. She exposed the weakness of the patriarchal structure, and broke the shell of male hegemony from its most vulnerable spot. The ability to reshape their identity and challenge the status quo points to agents who possess agency. These actions by women were often entanglements to the same scripts that relegated them to positions of sexual obedience and made them objects for male pleasure and prosperity. Having said that, as Butler explains, agency could nonetheless at times miss the liberal humanist concept of the individual and find itself subordinated The theory of agency can be outlined in the following terms: An actor can potentially choose to explore different forms of action that oppose the structure.

While the capability of an individual to step outside the defined boundaries always exists, consciousness provides incentive to enter a process that materializes new identity. Although agency exists within the societal structure, the critical element is not an independent act of one individual who opposes a certain form of being, but rather a collective way of challenging a structure individually.

The process of materialization is enhanced and channeled through a discursive conduit e. This would mean that the structure is limited to partial influence on individuals. Power within the structure is enduring but imperfect, which allows for the capability to step outside defined constraints and resist dictated actions by—at least to some extent —preferring a different set of actions. The motherhood discourse created the consciousness that women need not surrender to the sediments of reiterated and ritualized social structure, nor be marginalized by conforming to the historical hegemony of male social definitions delineated for them.

The conceptualization of agency for the subject-in-process is the relation of the subject to subordination.

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However, this act of compliance is not stable, and the reiteration of norms is often a burden on the shoulders of its actors. Motherhood opened a window of new potentiality for change; it offered women alternatives to the unnatural positionality to which they were confined in Iran. The authorities and others with power are fully aware that if other forms of actions are highlighted, women—and most of the general public—would largely set aside the masculine ideals.

Identity would always be in a state of flux, and, the end goal, therefore, was not an ideal form of identity, but rather, a constant process of change by individuals who had the agency to create these changes. This means that individual performativity and enactment creates and maintains social norms, rather than social norms creating the individual.

Nevertheless, the actions of the performers are dynamic; they can diverge and create new forms of actions. Such superficial formations are vulnerable, and such reenactments can fail. Therefore, the formation of each social construction brings with it the possibility of its downfall Butler Agency exists by virtue of individual action within the normative structure, but it is manifested primarily through a discourse that constitutes subjects as active agents of power. Power exerted on Iranian women arises not only from direct control by the male religious authority; it is also embedded in socio-cultural structures and engrained in the normative practices of Iranians.

Power is not an independent force, but rather is coextensive with the social body, interwoven in social structures and decentralized, ubiquitous, immanent, strategic, mobile, and unstable Foucault ; According to the French philosopher Michel Foucault, power is a premeditated relation of various forces that pervades a way of being for individuals, and is also generative of unique forms of relations, desires, perspectives and discourses Foucault ; These points of resistance are present everywhere in the power network Therefore, agency derives not from the lack of constraints or the annihilation of outside forces, but instead from a direct relationship to structures of subordination Mahmood As mentioned earlier, performativity proceeds and shapes actors through reiteration by drawing on sedimented rituals and practices.

Discourse is the horizon of agency The intention is not to view power as a reductionist concept in a weak and unrealizable structure.

narrative poem: Memories

The verse resonated within them, leading them to act in different ways. American Ethnologist 17 1: Honors and Poetry in a Bedouin Society. University of California Press. Some Trajectories Towards a Feminist Peace. Feminism in a New Islamic Context. Somewhere Near Defiance (): Jeff Gundy: Books

In Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion 22 2: The Identity Crisis in Feminist Theory. Journal of Women in Culture and Society 13 3: University of Texas Press. University of Wisconsin Press. Response to Conflicts in Feminism. Men, Women, and Rape. Hegelian Reflections in Twentieth-Century France. In Censorship and Silencing. Rereading Hegel on the Unhappy Consciousness. David Clarke and Tillotama Rajan, eds. Feminism and the Subversion of Identity.

An Essay in Phenomenology and Feminist Theory. In Theatre Journal 40 4: Write a customer review. Showing of 2 reviews. Top Reviews Most recent Top Reviews. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. Jeff Gundy's newest poetry collection is superb. As a poet myself, I am in awe of his gift for just the right phrase and just the right setting for his descriptions. There are many lines underlined in my copy, that I will go back to often, and I will seek to capture something of his gift in my own lines.

Such lines as "Who discovered we could cast our anger at the sky and get it back named God? Many of his poems perform on the page as couplets, some as triads, but however they present themselves, they beg your attention now, and again tomorrow, to remember what life is like "Somewhere Near Defiance. Go get any collection by Jeff Gundy! His poems take us to where we belong. He takes a moment and makes it eternal. He takes a sorrow and finds the ineffable comfort.

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