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Shipley, H.E. (2012). Fairies, Mermaids, Mothers, and Princesses: Sexual Difference and Gender Roles in Peter Pan. Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 13(2):145-159.

(2012). Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 13(2):145-159

Essay

Fairies, Mermaids, Mothers, and Princesses: Sexual Difference and Gender Roles in Peter Pan

Heather E. Shipley, Ph.D.

Luce Irigaray postulates a homosocial cultural order in her article “When the Goods Get Together” (1981), a cultural order of men that is threatened by the possibility of female unity or females “getting together” and disrupting the play among men. This article applies Irigaray's analysis of the homosocial order to the story of Peter Pan to expose and illuminate the ways a childhood story demonstrates the very cultural order Irigaray argues is at the heart of men's system of trade and economy. Peter Pan not only teaches children this particular male cultural order, and places an implicit fear around notions of female unity, but also as part of a larger cultural product stories like Peter Pan often reflect the reality they claim is pretend. Applying psychoanalytic critique to a cultural product, standards of gender normativity that are replicated through children's stories are laid bare.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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