Eva Maria Geicht, The Negotiations of Masquerade, Sisterhood, and Subversiveness in Elif Shafak’s Three Daughters of Eve
Keywords:femininity, ethnicity, identity, religion, masquerade, alterity, resistance, sisterhood
This article analyzes Elif Shafak’s novel Three Daughters of Eve, comparing the ethnically complex, non-conforming gender performances of the characters Shirin, Mona, and Peri in order to highlight parallels and differences in their approaches to enacting gender and ethnicity. Having different cultural backgrounds but studying at the University of Oxford together, all three women feel alienated from their ethnic roots and the female gender expectations and stereotypes that come with these roots; as a result, their approaches to ethnic and gender performance differ greatly, as do their religious views and ideas about femininity and sexuality. As I will show, they employ different types of ethnic and gendered masquerade not only to adapt to the patriarchal systems they move in, but also to resist these systems. However, in order to actualise antipatriarchal resistance more fully, I argue, they must first confront ethnic and intrafemale alterity, deconstruct their personal biases, and overcome internalized misogynist thinking patterns. They must form a (step-)sisterhood that acknowledges common struggles as well as differences.