Grief, Temporality, and Toxic Masculinity: Queer Representation in Mrs. Dalloway

Proceedings of The 3rd International Conference on Gender Studies and Sexuality

Year: 2023



Grief, Temporality, and Toxic Masculinity: Queer Representation in Mrs. Dalloway

Rima Qayed




Virginia Woolf’s 1925 Novel Mrs. Dalloway Has Been The Subject Of Much Criticism By Gender And Queer Theorists For Its Themes And Characters, Namely Clarissa And Septimus. This Paper Focuses On The Grief Expressed By Septimus, Clarissa’s Kiss With Sally Seton And Its Temporality, And The Interpretation Of These Two Events And Their Association With Toxic Masculinity. It Discusses The Feminization Of The Wwi Soldier And His Relationship With Evans, His Superior Officer, And It Interprets The Former’s Descent Into Madness As An Inherent Result Of Losing The Latter, A Loss For Which He Is Not Allowed To Grieve. Clarissa’s Kiss With Sally Is A Demonstration Of The Stereotypical Temporality Of A Young Queer Woman, Whose Queerness Should Exist Exclusively In The Past As She Matures Into A Heterosexual Woman. It Argues That Condemning Gay Men While Overlooking Gay Women Illustrates The Bigotry And Hatred Towards The Former Group, Deeming Them Weak And Feminized, Which In Turn Insults And Belittles The Very Role Of The Female Gender And Its Sexuality. The Study Concludes That This Is A Result Of The Heteronormative Concept Of Virginity, Wherein Losing One’s Virginity Is Through Heterosexual, Vaginal Penetration. This Logic States That The Party Being Penetrated Is One Devoid Of Power, Which Is Why The Mere Existence Of Queer Men Threatens The Traditional Ideals Of Masculinity. Accordingly, Desire And Sex Between Women Is An Act That Does Not Violate Their Purity.

keywords: gender, heteronormativity, temporality, toxic masculinity