'White picket fences' : lesbians' narratives of kinship building with their sisters in Newfoundland and Labrador

Fitzpatrick, Laura (2002) 'White picket fences' : lesbians' narratives of kinship building with their sisters in Newfoundland and Labrador. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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    Available under License - The author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author's permission.
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Abstract

This thesis is based on a study in which I interviewed lesbians about their familial relationships with their heterosexual sisters. The 'lesbian sister' I analyze in this thesis is both literal and metaphorical. At its most literal level, the 'lesbian sister' signifies a concern with the experiences of lesbian sisters who participated in an interview-based study that composes a part of this thesis. At a metaphorical level, the 'lesbian sister' signifies its concern with the dis/continuities of the lesbian subject in feminism. I discuss the narratives of the lesbians I interviewed from their position within society as family's 'outlaws'. It is through the picture of lesbians as family's outlaws that family as a site of heterosexual privilege comes into view. While heterosexual women's powerlessness within the family marks their oppression, it is lesbians' lack of access to family that marks theirs. This difference in heterosexual women's and lesbians' experiences of sisterhood suggests that heterosexuality is not equally compulsory for heterosexual women and lesbians and compulsory heterosexuality does not mean the same thing for both. In this thesis I suggest that feminist analysis of family fails to grasp lesbians' position in society as family's outlaws because distinctions between heterosexuality as male dominance and heterosexuality as heterosexual dominance are under theorized. I call for a critical shift in feminist methodology to relinquish the idea that heterosexism is nothing but a by-product of sexism in order to bring into view the specific experiences of lesbian 'sisters'.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/7068
Item ID: 7068
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves [123]-147.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Gender Studies
Date: 2002
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada--Newfoundland and Labrador
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Lesbians--Newfoundland and Labrador--Family relationships; Lesbians--Relations with heterosexuals--Newfoundland and Labrador

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