Self-Storying to (De)Construct Compulsory Heterosexuality: A Feminist Poststructural Autoethnography of a Self-Wedding Ritual
Baldwin, Amanda Lyn
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Written from the perspective of a white-settler, obese, bisexual, middle class cisfemale graduate student in Canada, the wedding ritual and bride are explored as sites of ideal female/feminine formation of the subject. Compulsory heterosexuality is implicated. “Single” and “married,” like “woman,” are constituted in discourses. The author explores ways that she, as an unmarried and therefore “single” woman has been positioned as personally deficient as single-ness is produced as an illegitimate and undesirable position for female/feminine subjects to take up. This research uses an autoethnographic methodological frame augmented by feminist poststructural epistemology to open up, trouble, disrupt and interrupt the figuring of the bride in hopes of (re)signification and new practices of the female and feminine self for the writer. The writer privileges story in the forms of narrative, poetry, theatrical vignette and photography; theoretical literature provides context and a methodological framework and adds a supplemental layer of analysis. The story is told from various temporal positions including past, present, and future, blurring the idea of chronological age. Practices of self and the limits of agency and resistance to dominant discourses are explored. Many accounts of a feminist self-wedding are presented to illustrate the opportunities for resistance, disruption and deconstruction of sociohistoric subjects and discourse, in this case, the heterosexual bride.