Femininity in Jose Saramago’s Blindness and Seeing
This study analyzes the varieties of femininity represented in Jose Saramago's sequel, Blindness and Seeing. Femininity and its different types have been introduced by Richard Howson in his Challenging Hegemonic Masculinity. Howson believes there are three major types of femininity: emphasized femininity, ambivalent femininity and protest femininity. For Howson, emphasized femininity means a femininity that does what the hegemony of a society wants. A femininity that never says no to what is thrown its way by the masculine hegemony. Ambivalent femininity is neither with or against the power structure of the time, sometimes it does what it is told and sometimes not. However, protest femininity tries its best to stand in the face of the set hegemony, it resists, it subverts, it fights, hoping to be able to make some changes. In what follows these three models of femininity are being looked at closely to show that although Saramgo's women grow to join the protest femininity in Blindness, nonetheless they get repressed by their contemporary hegemony in Seeing. A masculine hegemony does not bear to sit aside while a woman or a group of women try to subvert it. Rather it uses whatever tool it may find – from media to violence – to hush these women and put them in their place.
Keywords: hegemonic masculinity, emphasized femininity, ambivalent femininity, protest femininity, performative subversion