By Revathi Krishnaswamy
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Additional info for Effeminism: The Economy of Colonial Desire
Women and Homosocial Colonialism Absolutely necessary yet eminently dispensable, women are the cir- cuitry through which colonial desire flows, the conduit through which collusions and collisions between colonizing and colonized men are conducted. Nineteenth-century colonial ideology and politics are marked by the historic emergence of womanhood as the most powerful signifier of cultural superiority. Indeed, one of the most common liberal justifications for the extension of colonial rule and for the maintenance of the civilizing mission is the imputed barbarity of the treatment of women within the culture under attack.
My understanding of effeminacy as an "everyday form of resis- tance" is grounded in recent studies that seek to move away from the conventional focus on extraordinary, often violent, moments of collec- tive protest toward those forms of struggle present in the behaviors and cultural practices of subordinated peoples at times other than those of overt revolt. "so Such an understanding obviously goes against a Foucauldian view of panoptic hegemony but is quite compat- ible with Michel de Certeau's notion of la perruque, a term which metaphorically refers to the little ruses and tricks practiced by domi- nated groups.
93 Attempting to arouse his followers to action, Vivekananda admonished them: "No more weeping, but stand on your feet and be men. It is a man-making religion I want. "96 The Bengali male's self-perception of effeminacy was also an effect of the struggle for hegemony by an elite community under the condi- tions of nineteenth-century colonialism. Manhood in colonial society, as Tanika Sarkar shows, was based on a particular relationship to prop- erty-a relationship that was gradually eroded for the Bengali middle class in the second half of the nineteenth century.