DRAGGING ANTIGONE: FEMINISTQUEER READING TO MOVE BEYOND THE (GENDER) BINARY. Queering education and transgression in reading Anne Carson’s Antigonick
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Institutional readings of classical myths have been essential to the repetition of the gender binary within the heteronormative frame. Moving from my ‘local knowledge’, I reflect on critical and engaged education and the importance of non-normative methodologies – derived from the agenda of both feminist and queer pedagogy – to prompt a socio-political change. Accordingly, my research aims at creating a feministqueer reading method, so as to raise awareness of the multiple possibilities of self-identification beyond (gender) binary constrictions. As a consequence, it intends to develop emancipating and transgressing knowledge. Basing my theorization on standpoint epistemology and the concept of diffractive reading, I outline the feministqueer method of reading classical myths as a ‘praxis’ that undoes gender restrictions, by producing narratives which attest to difference, discriminations, identitarian multiplicities and fluid identifications. More precisely, this alternative method is a subversive practice that intends to fracture the ‘normalcy’ implicit in patriarchal and normative readings, through a series of resisting steps. In the feministqueer reading process I suggest, the reader’s recognition of their resistances to patterns of (gender) normalcy and the practice of undoing such resistances come together to produce a feministqueer meaning beyond the gender binary. In order to give an example of this feministqueer reading method, I put it into practice by engaging with Anne Carson’s Antigonick. Thus, in opposition to the sexual difference-inspired analysis, I develop a provocative reading, following Judith Butler’s theory of gender performativity. Throughout this feministqueer close reading, I drag Antigone and unravel the heroine’s wavering identity, which is somewhat ‘in the making’ and whose status undoes the fixity of gender borders and destabilizes both the immutability of gendered roles and the necessity of heteronormative relationships. My project therefore shows that reading myths from a feministqueer viewpoint is an educational practice which could influence and alter normative reading methods, deconstruct the gender binary and thus trigger a critical and social awareness able to overcome normative and hegemonic borders.