2022 Student Research Conference:
35th Annual Student Research Conference

Gender as Performance in Sirena Selena vestida de pena

Natalie J. Vance
Dr. Stacy Davis, Faculty Mentor

In Sirena Selena vestida de pena (2000), Afro-Caribbean writer Mayra Santos-Febres illustrates the painful, yet opportunistic life of an underage crossdresser, Selena, who is determined to abandon a life of poverty for glamor and fame. The author incorporates  the performance of gender to create a space for the reader to question the gender binary as we traditionally know it, both within the Spanish language and modern culture. This project uses the work by feminist philospher Judith Butler, Gender Trouble (1990) and Bodies That Matter (2011), to examine how the novel incorporates drag queens as women and their performative expression of gender in order to question and destablize traditional notions of gender. Through the framework of Butler’s theory, Santos-Febres deconstructs the gender binary with language, the actions of the characters and the use of gender norms to demonstrate that gender is a social construct in a world ruled by the binary.

Keywords: Puertorrican literature, Gender Binary , Drag , Feminist Theory , Gender Construct , Gender Performance

Women's and Gender Studies

Presentation Type: Asynchronous Virtual Presentation

Session: 1-4
Location: https://flipgrid.com/85d2b4df
Time: 0:00

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