Literary critics and scholars have long studied Charlotte Dacre’s Zofloya for its salacious and provocative subject material, but also for its intertextual qualities and gender and power reversals. The text repeatedly flouts traditional gender roles and gendered relationships while undermining patriarchal power. However, despite its remonstrating attitude toward heteropatriarchal social, political, and power structures, Dacre is in fact creating a form of patriarchy within her text; this patriarchal structure is weak, but present and closely tailored to coexist with the strong and significant women who both defy the order and benefit from its structure and ideologies. Through philosophers such as Kate Manne, we can illuminate how Dacre is manufacturing patriarchy through the hallmarks she employs, and for what purpose this structure is serving. Precisely, this patriarchy is dependent on misogyny to punish women and reinforce the order, yet it is not always men who are punishing women for their transgressions. Further, the text’s created patriarchy relies on the “typing” of women, evidenced by repeated shaming language, the punishing of women by women, and the representative “stand in” nature of women for those who cannot be punished directly. Misogyny is notably enforcing the giving of gendered goods to men; however, these women who are hardlly loathe to provide them.
Lisa Ann Robertson
English, Philosophy, Women's Studies
Evans, Sydney J.E, "Making Misogyny: the Construction of Patriarchy in Dacre’s Zofloya" (2021). IdeaFest. 417.