Cultural Studies
Professor Kate Liu
Name: Jessie Chu (邱桂誼)
No: 483200302


Lesbian’s Ecriture: the identity and subversion in Miao-jin Qui’s
The Journal of a Crocodile and Dying Testament in Monmatre

I. the public discrimination and voyeurism to the homosexual
II. Lesbian’s identity, sexual performantivity and subversion

For the lesbian’s literature of Taiwan, Miao-jin Qui is undoubtedly an outstanding and controversial writer. Qui builds the lesbian’s power/ realm by using lesbian as the center and subject of her works. She reinforces the lesbian’s discourse and wins the Taiwan lesbian’s identity. For instance, the web site named “Lez’ Heaven” is from the protagonist in her The Journal of a Crocodile. And it is the space for the lesbian’s writing and sharing life experience. From The Journal of a Crocodile, the crocodile’s masquerade and ‘comic parody’ points out the mass’ ambivalence—homophobia and voyeurism. On the other hand, as Liang-ya Liu said, “Lez has the strong male identity. She controls the love, eros, life and the text with the identification of a writer/ artist. .. and end in self abuse and self destruction. However, what does it conceal behind her male identity? Moreover, Liu mentioned if we change Lez into a male character, it becomes the Qiong-yao romantic fiction. But Lez is a female. We can’t miss the oppression of homoeroticism from the compulsory heterosexuality. In other word, for the readers, the center of Qiong-yao’s novels is the torture in the male-female romantic love. But the core of Qui’s novels is the homosexuality. From the perspective of lesbian’s roles, Qui presents the unstable and changeable ‘sexual performativity’, demolishing the conventional idea of the binary position of butch and femme and the myth of sex=gender. In Qui’s quest of self identity, she rejects the arbitrary heterosexual apparatus by means of the individual dignity of existence. In my paper, I’ll focus on the public gaze, male identity, and the copy/ mimic of the heterosexual performance from Qui’s The Journal of a Crocodile and Dying Testament in Monmatre, and discuss the significance of its subversion.


I. the public discrimination and voyeurism to the homosexual

First of all, let’s see the public and the mass media’s attitude to see the lesbian in the heterosexual-oriented society/ world. In The Journal of a Crocodile, the crocodile’s queer performativity ironically presents the public discrimination and oppression to the homosexual. The crocodile has to wear human clothes when it wants to go out. At least the masquerade can help it aviod the public gaze and guarantee its safety and peace. Besides, “the Club of the Crocodile”(237), “The Window of the crocodile”(238), “Association of protecting the Crocodile”(239), and “Union of annihilating the Crocodile”(239) hint that the mass media satisfies the public voyeurism. People do not want to admit, to accept, and to understand them. So the programs are making money for the sake of its mystery and shame. This is also a cynic to the TTV news report ambiguously about the homosexual issue.

Common people can’t recognize the crocodile. Junior and senior high school students are the faithful audience of the news about crocodile. …People over forty regard the fury of crocodile as the archeology—discovering human stories much earlier than cave people. Office men announced that they only pay attention to the news about the legislative fighting and the stock. Laborers claimed that they despised the shit report except the entertaining news. However, they always stand in front of the peddlers and read the magazines with “The Scoop” or “First-hand News”. The crocodile thinks, what do people want? It is shy of being liked by so many people.” (62) Then after the authority’s tempting to come out and the investigation, the geneticist declared that “the crocodile is the human-like, evoluted from another species of creature. There is 80% possibility for them to have sex with human beings and have another species of human being”(238). This passage shows the preoccupied prejudice to the homosexual. They are seen as the ‘hybrid’, the abnormal. And the psychologist asserted that “children become the crocodile in their adolescence. … When they are fourteen, they will make the human clothes and escape from the family”(238). This is the satire to the arbitrary and male dominant knowledge stigmatizing the homosexuality from the 19th century. From Freud’s ‘invert’, ‘pervert’ to the conventional idea, gay-sissy and lesbian-tomboy, the knowledge power of the patriarchal hegemony enjoys defining and explaining what they do not understand. And gradually the ‘term’ constructs the discourse to limit and to devalue the minority. In addition to the mass media, Qui presents the ‘comic parody’ to the heterosexuality. When it (the crocodile) comes back, it sees the lions, tigers, and leopards everywhere. They fiercely unpack his baggage and eat the chocolate, the cookies. …It pulls one of the tentacles with its human dignity! Under which is another same smaller ferocious beast; and under which the same smaller beast. The other two beasts are the same. The crocodile names ‘the dream of the lion’s, tiger’s and leopard’s proliferation’. () Qui expresses the meaning of having descendants as the terrible reproduction. The ferocious lion, the tiger and the leopard symbolize the heterosexual dictatorship to the homosexual. This is also the lesbian’s attack to the heterosexual sex. Giving birth doesn’t mean the better coming generation.

II. Lesbian’s identity, sexual performantivity and subversion

In The Journal of a Crocodile and Dying Testament in Monmatre, the love of Lez—Shui-ling and Zoe—Sui are absolute and frenzied. Her control of love, eros and the torture brought by her interior struggle lead to the rupture and departure. Her narcissism and self-pity show her mental unbalance and inner contradiction. “Too early to know that I am a gorgeous peacock. … Because of the elegant features, I can’t help mirror myself from people”(14). This is her superiority and pride of being an elite/ artist/ writer. On the other hand, she frequently feels shame and guilty of her deformity. “A woman like me, from my own eyes, is the Greek unicorn. But there is a woman loving me so much”(138). The incessant psychological and mental torture causes to Shui-lng breakdown. “She is hyteriously pleading me like a little poor creature”(202). After Shui-ling’s new lover showing up, Lez realizes what she has lost. This is her chauvinism and abuse to her partner. In the Dying Testament in Monmatre, she mentioned, “I don’t think my love and sex with woman is different from men.”(129) She is continuously searching for the male identity because she wants the power that can guarantee her safety and her dignity. So I think she is trapped in the heterosexual ideology and never completely embrace the lesbian’s identity. Even at the end of Dying Testament in Monmatre, she identifies with Alexander the Great because he loved and married her mother whom is the woman he loved through his life. In Qui’s unconsciousness, the homosexuality is incestuous and sinful. She always thinks that when she transforms into a male, she can give the promise and protection. Though when she was young, she knew that her archetype is a woman. (10) As for what Liang-ya Liu has mentioned in her article about Lez’ male identity. I think what she desires is the power, which is coincidentally manipulated by the men. So she will have the strong sense of male/ power identity.

When it comes to the violence and abuse in the two works, I don’t think it is the mimic/ copy of the heterosexual chauvinism (Liang-ya Liu). Zoe’s screaming and bleeding in the telephone booth is the violent aesthetics of self-abuse and love. This absolute and exclusive love represent not only in heterosexual love but also in the homosexual love, such as 南條晃司and 泉拓人 in尾崎南 絕愛1989 and Chou-kuang (楚狂) and Meng-sheng (孟生)in The Journal of a Crocodile. Chou-kuang demands the promise that every April 1 he must see Meng-sheng or he would commit suicide. So I think that the mental and emotional abuse dependents on the individual’s personality and her/his viewpoint of love. What I want to emphasize is that the love of two individual’s consciousness is sole and independent. As Gayle Rubin mentioned, “considering the certain sexuality related to the politics is the old fashioned thinking”. ( 53)

As for the roles of the lesbian, in The Journal of a Crocodile Lez is the butch, also showing in her thought and dressing. But in Dying Testament in Monmatre, Zoe is the butch with Sui, and the femme with Laurence. These unstable and uncertain roles of the lesbian undermine the arbitrary binary position in the heterosexual ideology. Besides, the relationship between Zhi-rou (致柔) and Yun-tun (吞吞) is indistinguishable from the standpoint of butch-femme. As Jia-xin Jian analyzed, “the original form of butch-femme is deconstructed, reconstructed. They even surpass it and represent various and assorted roles.”(中外27) This conveys the homosexual’s de-standardized and de-stigmatized. On the other hand, Zhi-rou and Xiao-fan (小凡)in The Journal of a Crocodile and Catherine and Sui () in Dying Testament in Monmatre are bisexual. Zhi-rou said, “After all, no one can satisfies me. When I am with a man, I am attracted by the beautiful woman. But when I am with a woman, I desire man.”(185) Catherine and Sui leave Zoe and get married with men. As for Zoe, she had sex with Andonis and Yuan-yan (原彥). But she is still a woman who loves woman. Briefly speaking, Qui’s ecriture subverts the arbitrary paradigm and presents the circulation of human eroticism. It is unfair to say that the heterosexual love and sex is the mimic/ copy of the heterosexuality. Or maybe I should out in this way, penetration, oral sex, sexual intercourse with dildo are all sex; homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual love are all human love. There is no original and arbitrary paradigm in human beings’ regime of eroticism.

In a word, Miao-jin Qui’s The Journal of a Crocodile and Dying Testament in Monmatre are the representation of lesbian ecriture and lesbian literature. It is the depiction of lesbian love, but there are many rebellious elements concealing within the text. The works are the subversion of sex (male/ female), gender (masculine/ feminine), and sexuality (homosexual/ heterosexual). There are many possibilities and uncertainties beyond human beings’ comprehension. We have no right to stigmatize or deny things that we do not understand.




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