Feminists Book Island Of The Sequined Love Essay

Length: 6 pages Sources: 12 Subject: Sports - Women Type: Essay Paper: #57077163 Related Topics: Postmodern Literature, She Walks In Beauty, Book Review, Postmodernism
Excerpt from Essay :

¶ … feminists book ISLAND OF THE SEQUINED LOVE NUN Christopher Moore. To, general trend feminism

Beyond Conventional Feminism

There are a number of reasons why contemporary feminists would find fault with Island of the Sequined Love Nun, a novel published in 1997 by author Christopher Moore which may be considered an example of postmodern literature due to the variety of subjects, cultures, and sexual orientations it deals with (Powell 1). The book is largely told through the male perspective of a fairly certified womanizer, Tucker Case. Subsequently, women are consistently objectified throughout this work, mostly in the author's attempt to be humorous. Yet the central notion that would more than likely present a problem for feminists who are reviewing this novel would be the conception of beauty as it applies to women that the author portrays throughout the text. Most contemporary feminists would strongly object to the notion that a woman is only beautiful or desirable when she is "made up" in a manner that is considered attractive to a male perspective. The vast majority of feminist thought has largely striven to present its own definitions of femininity and the beauty of a woman's image on her own terms, which have relatively little to do with the conceptions of those of the opposite sex. A careful examination of Moore's novel, augmented by references and quotations from additional texts steeped in feminist thought, pointedly reveals that feminists would rather vehemently object to Island of the Sequined Love Nun due to its reinforcement of the stereotype that women must objectify their bodies and adhere to traditional male perceptions of desirability to be deemed attractive.

In order to readily demonstrate the veracity of this thesis, it first becomes necessary to provide adequate definitions of contemporary feminism, which is largely considered the epoch spanning from the midway point or the latter stages of the 20th century into the 21st century. A fairly comprehensive definition can be provided in the following quotation, in which it is stated that feminism "aims to examine women's oppression, expose the dynamics of male domination and female subordination, and, guided by that analysis, fight for women's liberation" (Mackie). One of the most salient points made in the preceding definition is in relation to the nature of male domination and female subordination. It may be argued that a large part of such domination and subordination may be due to the roles in which women are perceived, particularly in what constitutes a woman being considered attractive.

Furthermore, this quotation also implies that there is a relationship between the oppression of women and this regard for their beauty that is largely determined by a male perspective. This notion is largely underpinned by the following quotation.

We are in the midst of a violent backlash against feminism that uses images of female beauty as a political weapon against women's advancement: the beauty myth. It is the modern version of a social reflex that has been in force since the Industrial Revolution. As women released themselves from the feminine mystique of domesticity, the beauty myth took over its lost ground, expanding as it waned to carry on its work of social control (Wolf 10).

This quotation is largely important in regards to the fact that it suggests that the utilization of male perspectives of women's beauty is used as a form of "social control." Such control may be evidenced within Island of the Sequined Love Nun both in the depiction and portrayal of The Sky Priestess, who utilizes her half-naked, cosmetically enhanced beauty to actually control the notions and opinions of the islanders.

The male perspective of female beauty dominates throughout Moore's novel, in forms that are both obvious and subtle. In some of the passages, the author himself may not have even been aware that he was presenting a rigid, male-oriented view of female beauty. But as the following quotation certainly denotes, he definitely was presenting the representation of a woman's desirability largely...


Remove the bar and it looked like Macy's men's department. It was one in the morning and the bartender, a stout, middle-aged Hispanic woman, was polishing glasses and waiting for her last three customers to leave so she could go home. At the end of the bar a young woman in a short skirt and too much makeup sat alone. Tucker Case sat next to a businessman several stools down (Moore).

There are a number of eminent allusions in this paragraph that are of importance to the argument that Moore's book objectifies woman. The most accessible of these, quite obviously, would be the description of the woman who Tucker will proceed to court -- and embark on the rest of the zany adventures that typify the duration of this novel. Virtually the only description of the woman is that she has a "short skirt" and "too much make-up." The latter reference to the make-up will be of particular value to the thesis propagated in this paper in later references to the sequined goddess for which this novel is named. Yet both of these facets of the woman's description conform to standard male definitions of attractiveness -- revealing clothes and a cosmetic augmentation that is designed to appeal to men. The contrast of the woman's appeal stands in direct opposition to the bartender's description, which is merely as being "stout." The bartender, therefore, is not deemed attractive or worthy of Case's interest. The fact that the perception of attraction and beauty in this passage is decidedly male can be evinced from the fact that the bar is described as a "mens'" department.

Also, in order to aid in the conviction of this paper's premise that contemporary feminists would object to the conception of attraction and its inherent objectification that women largely endure throughout this novel, it is necessary to analyze feminist views of beauty, particularly in contrast to those of men's. The following quotation alludes to the fact that these two forms of beauty may not only be diametrically opposed, but that the male version is certainly a means of oppression towards women.

A central mantra of feminism is that the so-called male gaze constitutes a form of assault. Accordingly, any dress code that negates such "patriarchal oppression" can be liberating. Western media images (and more generally the capitalist patriarchal system) are apparently key peddlers in the sexist subjugation of women…veils can at times be construed as liberating since some women freely choose to wear these (Saad).

The notion that the male perception of beauty, as typified by the intrusive "gaze" of men, is oppressive may be evinced from the fact that the author of this quotation considers such gazes to be a variation "of assault." Furthermore, this notion is supported by the fact that the veiling of women is considered by "some women" to be a form of liberation, since it prevents males from looking at their bodies as something more than they are -- as objects of sexual attraction. Yet virtually all of the conceptions of attractive women in Island of the Sequined Love Nun play into this stereotype, and revolve about women wearing less clothes, revealing more of their bodies, and copiously applying cosmetic enhancements to their facial features. Contemporary feminists, therefore, would not approve of such a novel due to this fact.

The basis for most of the feminist objections to Moore's representation of women as objects within this manuscript would be based on the love nun herself, who is really Beth, wife of Dr. Sebastian Curtis. The pair have been able to exploit the island of Micronesia and aid their health care business by harvesting the organs of the islanders largely on the basis of Beth dressing up as The Sky Priestess, which was the image on the side of the airplane of a World War II veteran who crashed upon the island. What is most significant about The Sky Priestess, of course, is her physical description, which some critics have described, appropriately enough, as "half naked" (Richard). This notion is underscored by the fact that Beth is significantly younger than Dr. Curtis. Furthermore, in virtually all accounts of The Sky Priestess, she is described as wearing a substantial amount of make-up and abundantly exposing her body. Such descriptions are highly important, because it combines the typical male traditional perspective of a woman's beauty with religious reverence. Such features of a woman's beauty are used to portray her not only as attractive, but also as a goddess. Significantly, it should be noted that when Beth is not wearing the extravagant make-up of The Sky Priestess and all of her demonstrably revealing attire, she can walk amongst the islanders of Micronesia fairly unnoticed. This point is also meaningful, since it denotes that she is no longer divinely or exorbitantly beautiful (to a traditional male perspective) since she is not adhering to the prerequisites which Moore's book largely…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

Botting, Eileen H, Houser, Sarah L., '"Drawing the Line of Equality": Hannah Mather Crocker on Women's Rights' in American Political Science Review. 2006, 100: 265-278. Print.

Cornell, Drucilla. At the Heart of Freedom: Feminism, Sex, and Equality. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press. 1998. Print.

Chodorow, Nancy. Feminism and Psychoanalytic Theory. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press. 1989. Print.

Hochschild, Arlie Russell; Machung, Anne. The Second Shift. New York: Penguin Books. 2003. Print.

Cite this Document:

"Feminists Book Island Of The Sequined Love" (2011, December 05) Retrieved June 25, 2021, from

"Feminists Book Island Of The Sequined Love" 05 December 2011. Web.25 June. 2021. <

"Feminists Book Island Of The Sequined Love", 05 December 2011, Accessed.25 June. 2021,

Related Documents
Feminist Reading Two Models of
Words: 2840 Length: 9 Pages Topic: Sports - Women Paper #: 75727939

As such, she fails to address the central problem of feminism in the Pontellier perspective, namely the impossibility of female individuality and independence in a patriarchal world. It is only in isolation that Edna can find any happiness, and she must make this isolation more and more complete in order to maintain her happiness, as the patriarchy has a means of encroaching on all populated areas, and Wollstonecraft's feminism

Feminist Movement 1970's
Words: 1892 Length: 6 Pages Topic: Sports - Women Paper #: 63938926

Feminist Movement of the 1970s Ending the "The Problem with No Name" The Golden Age of marriage and family, the 1950s, was statistically a time when most women married and few divorced (Smith, lecture notes). On the surface, American society seemed to be content with the status quo; however, the existence of pervasive racial and gender inequality was preventing the oppressed from fully taking part in the Golden Age, let alone enjoying

Feminist Art
Words: 2485 Length: 6 Pages Topic: Sports - Women Paper #: 63040465

Feminist Art as Evolution Rather Than as a Movement Feminist art as a named movement evolved in the context of the late 1960's early 1970's political climate. The movement contextually cannot be separated from larger civil rights movements and specifically those relating to women; like the sexual revolution, the women's liberation movement, and the formation and growth of groups like the National Organization for Women. Strictly speaking there can be no

Feminist Criticism in Television Programming in Analyzing
Words: 646 Length: 2 Pages Topic: Sports - Women Paper #: 47373079

Feminist Criticism in Television Programming In analyzing the impact of mass media to its audiences and cultures in today's societies, it is important to also consider the theoretical framework from which mass media analysis is based from and developed on. Television criticism is particularly a controversial field in which theories and methodologies for critical analysis are applied and contested. By itself, the idea of employing feminist criticism to analyze representation of

Feminist Interpretation of Aristotle and
Words: 3381 Length: 10 Pages Topic: Sports - Women Paper #: 4904586

Aristotle believed that human flourishing (NE: 12) is the definition of good. The mere presence of women in Congress suggests that voters rejected a man, but it is better to look at this not as the rejection of one (male or not), but as the result of human flourishing. This increased competition of more women pursuing what they feel is their own responsibility will result in more unemployment for men,

Feminists Unfortunately, When One Hears the Word
Words: 700 Length: 2 Pages Topic: Sports - Women Paper #: 34930878

Feminists Unfortunately, when one hears the word "feminist," it is frequently in a derogatory context. From the ultra-derogatory use of the epitaph "feminazi" to describe working women, to those men and women who, while declaring feminist ideals, protest the use of that label to describe themselves, there is a taint associated with the word feminist that makes one querulous about self-identifying as a feminist (Crown). However, I understand that the reasons