Thursday, February 14, 2013
Gender in the Antarctic
When we discussed Blum's text on Tuesday, we came to the (perhaps hesitant) conclusion that it would be difficult to discuss her Annapurna without discussing gender, because of the way she deploys stereotypes of traditional femininity in her narrative. Gender is obviously a prominent factor in Bancroft's No Horizon is So Far as well. In the subtitle of the text, the words "two women" are highlighted in red. However, I would argue that it is possible to discuss Bancroft's story without referencing gender, both because there are other "angles" (the corporate sponsors, the educational initiative), and because, published in 2003, her text is further removed from the cultural anxiety surrounding radical feminism than Blum's. Published in 1980, during the backlash against the woman's movement, perhaps Blum felt she had to prove that she was not a bra-burning (though that never actually happened) threat to masculinity in order to get what she wanted-her text is a "wolf in sheep's clothing" of sorts. Bancroft, removed from that cultural moment, faces a different set of constraints.