ALICE THE CONQUEROR: a rough draft of a small part of the gender section
“Part of the drive behind such ‘humorous’ manifestations of toxic masculinity, no doubt, is the stereotypical rivalry between male and female, evident in Carroll’s parents and in the embryonic tradition of children’s literature to which he responded. The literature of benevolence toward animals was associated with women” (Alice the Conqueror).
When this quote puts the word humorous is quotations, it made me realize how prevalent this concept was. Usually microaggressions or any other form of toxic behavior (especially masculinity) is passed on through the means of humor. Comments from fathers to sons, friends to friends, often results in example like, “you’re so gay”, “you run like a girl”, or expressing any other emotion other than anger. Some men try to play these comments/feelings off by using humor, but yet subtly it creates the toxic aspect to masculinity. Part of this toxicity is the rivalry that male and females had/have.
“Carroll’s mother had a ‘taste for instructive,’ often religious literature and a ‘compassion for all creatures’ which she shared with her son” (Alice the Conqueror).
Like Alice, Carroll also crossed the gender lines between male and female. His likes and inspirations were derived from what his mother taught him. According to those standard gender norms, he was more feminine, as was his main character.
“The tiny fairy Bruno’s treatment of plants and animals embodies the toxic masculinity that powered a version of imperialism rarely discussed in those terms: the conquest of the animal kingdom” (Alice the Conqueror).
Carroll’s father once told him about killing all but a cat in a town, and I think that parallels this quote in the sense that men are graded by what they dominate. Just how we read in the Book of Genesis, Adam (man) received his dominance by gaining dominion (and naming) the animals in the Garden of Eden aka the conquest of the animal kingdom.
“The Norman Conquest was the model for a challenge to gender stereotyping at the end of the Victorian era. According to Carrie Kipling, her husband’s story, ‘William the Conqueror,’ was about the ‘new woman’ emerging at end of the century” (Alice the Conqueror).
I just wanted to note how I actually took a British Literature class last semester and how prevalent the term os “new woman” was in literature. What I specifically remember was in Bram Stoker’s Dracula and the representation of newfound sexuality.
Biophilia and Emotive Ethics
“Will we ‘love life enough to save it?’ Will we replace ‘our human reproductive instincts’ with ‘biophilia and concern for environmental integrity’? . . . [biophobia] has now expanded into an ‘active scorn for whatever is not man-made, managed, or air-conditioned” (Emotive Ethics 1377).
This quote induced a sadness to me, asking me realize how true this has become. People value synthetic over natural, and we are slowly trying to redirect ourselves to accept the organic over man-made. This biophobia has come from our innate sense of superiority, thinking that we are better as a species than the natural world, just because of this dominion that we think we have.
“‘Do we have something in common with other animals?’ . . . Adam’s naming the animals epitomizes what Derrida calls the ‘carnophallogocenrism’, the domination f the carnivorous, male human over other animals . . .Adam’s naming symbolizes ‘the historical exclusion of animals because they lack words'” (Ethics and Language 1381).
It is incredibly vile and violent how not only is naming animals setting dominance over animals but also by eating them. It almost seems vampiristic, and I have actually never seriously considered not eating meat as much as I have while taking this class.