‘What does exist lies in the sphere of your own hands.’

I searched the story of Leviticus in the Old Testament and it’s basically the section about instruction on how to be “Holy” and how one should carry themselves and what to do to “live a holy life.” I think about how the word “Queer” means abnormal/unique and was used to shame members of the LGBTQ communities back in the day for being “different,” “wrong,” and “not normal.”

I think about the story of the prince who was in search for the “perfect woman” and the fact that the prince was the only person who could define perfection. It makes me think about our Eurocentric-heterosexual-patriarchal society and how Western and European countries were the ones to define what is “normal,” “correct,” and wildly “accepted.” This caused males, whiteness, heterosexuality, and Protestant religion to be the most praised identities that give people privileges and recognition. I think that the prince in this story represents our societies that try to define what is “perfect” and how one should live their lives “correctly.”

But the “perfect woman” in the story says ‘What does exist lies in the sphere of your own hands.’ I think that speaks to people who identify as part of the LGBTQ community. I think the woman is saying that “perfection” does not exist– in other words there is not set of rules to determine how people should live their lives. She is recognizing that everyone is different and everyone has flaws, but our flaws are what make us unique. I think she is saying that it’s better to be unique and accept yourself and your truth, than to try to constantly live up to socially constructed ideas of “right” and “wrong.” The woman is saying that if you are constantly trying to seek this perfection, you will die and never have it because it does not exist. Only who you are and your identity is perfect for you, that is your perfection. This connects to Audrey Lorde’s saying that “your silence will never protect you.” All these things are talking about accepting and loving who you truly are and to stand up for yourself and not let people out you down because you are not what society defines as “perfect.”

3 thoughts on “YOU define EXISTENCE”

  1. I really enjoyed reading your blog post. I like how you point out the juxtaposition of the chapter being called “Leviticus” (the part of the bible that basically outlines the rules of being holy) and the story of the prince. I really liked the point you made about the ideas of right and wrong are socially constructed and how, in contrast to the teachings of Leviticus, maybe there aren’t any steadfast rules that we need to follow. I think that this also connects to the concept of self-identification that we’ve talked about in class. There are certain concepts and terms that we’ve come across that only the individual is able to identify as – you can never impose that identity on someone else. This relates to what you were saying in your post about how everyone’s perfection is perfect to them and themselves alone.

  2. I agree with your analysis of the idea of the “perfect woman” and that women who are a part of the LGBTQ society can identify with the idea that there is no such thing. I also think this goes outside of women apart of the LGBTQ community and just women in general. There is no such thing a perfect woman and I think all our differences make us who we are. I also agree with the idea that the no matter how hard any woman will try and be perfect, there is no such thing.f. Society has an unreachable definition of perfection and until a woman realizes that, she will never be truly happy with herself.

  3. This connection to the concept of ‘perfection’ is a great interpretation of the pressures Winterson has detailed all throughout her book. For me, a huge theme of the book is the struggle that comes with unlearning ideals that have been imposed on you since birth, and the concept of perfection that was imposed on her was a toxic concept that stems from White, patriarchal, and (most relevantly) heterosexual dominance. A lot of this passage is about learning to accept that all ideas of perfection are subjective, but that the best way to break free from an old and oppressive mindset, is to make sure your idea of perfection is one that allows you to love and embrace yourself.

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