IJLLL 2015 Vol.1(2): 148-153 ISSN: 2382-6282
DOI: 10.7763/IJLLL.2015.V1.29

Women and the Politics of (Dis) Embodiment: Linking Corporeality, Sexuality and Subjectivity in Rani Manicka’s The Rice Mother

Manmeet Kaur Senthok Singh
Abstract—This study comprises a feminist reading of Rani Manicka’s The Rice Mother through Elizabeth Grosz’s (1994) theory of corporeal feminism. Review of related literature reveals that female corporeality and sexuality are key sites of women’s oppression under patriarchy. Despite this, literature review discloses that the state of feminist-informed literary studies on female body politics in Malaysia is dismal because of the taboos surrounding the subject matter. This study aims to fill the literary void brought about by the lack of feminist studies on the female body in Malaysian literature in English. Highlights of the present study include exposing various forms of patriarchal control over female corporeality and sexuality, exploring the effects of such hegemony on female subjectivity and examining the women characters’ strategies of resistance to regain control over their bodies and sexuality. Findings reveal that while the female body is subject to sexual violence and domestic, sexual and reproductive servitude; female sexuality is oriented towards procreation and the gratification of men’s needs. However, what makes Manicka’s novel a worthwhile literary endeavour is not the victim status of her women characters, but the ambivalence that results from the clash of voices in their subjectivities which urges them to resist patriarchy and reclaim the most intimate aspect of their being.

Index Terms—Female body, female sexuality, feminism, Rani Manicka, resistant subjectivities.

Manmeet Kaur Senthok Singh is with the Department of Languages and Linguistics, Faculty of Arts and Social Science, Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman, Perak, Malaysia (e-mail: manmeetk@utar.edu.my).

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Cite:Manmeet Kaur Senthok Singh, "Women and the Politics of (Dis) Embodiment: Linking Corporeality, Sexuality and Subjectivity in Rani Manicka’s The Rice Mother," International Journal of Languages, Literature and Linguistics vol. 1, no. 2, pp. 148-153, 2015.

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