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African Diasporic Women's NarrativesPolitics of Resistance, Survival, and Citizenship$
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Simone A. James Alexander

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780813049823

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813049823.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM FLORIDA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.florida.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Florida, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FLASO for personal use.date: 26 May 2022

“Crimes against the Flesh”

“Crimes against the Flesh”

Politics and Poetics of the Black Female Body

(p.39) 2 “Crimes against the Flesh”
African Diasporic Women's Narratives

Simone A. James Alexander

University Press of Florida

This chapter politicizes the female body using Lorde's personal, embodied experiences with breast cancer to articulate that the erasure of the female body constitutes “high crimes against the flesh.” The assault on Lorde's flesh is two-fold, first, the state's (the Cancer Society) requirement that she normalizes her diseased body by donning prosthetic breasts after her mastectomy, and second, the obliteration of her lesbian identity, positing compulsory heterosexuality as the norm. Lorde's deviance, manifested in her sexual orientation—her lesbian identity—is criminalized even as she challenges the concept of the “deviant or criminalized body.” As a transnational subject, Lorde not only traverses multiple borders, but she also embodies multiple “incompatible” identities. In equal manner, Lorde's lesbian identity calls into question her right to citizenship.

Keywords:   Prosthetic, Mastectomy, Criminalized, Lesbian

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