Construction of gender identities via satire: The case of Juvenal

Massih Zekavat, Farideh Pourgiv


Many studies underscore the societal aspects of satire, yet its role in the construction of social subjects’ identities has been mostly ignored. Since satire has been ubiquitous in various cultures and epochs, and identity is also among the primary contemporary concerns in our globalised and multicultural world, the study of the role of satire in the construction of social subjects’ identities can prove to be significantly rewarding. Accordingly, this article aims to investigate how satire can contribute to the construction of gender identity in social subjects. It is proposed that opposition/otherness/difference is the common denominator between satire and gender identity. First, different theories of humour are surveyed to show that opposition is integral to satire. Then, it is conveyed that otherness and opposition are similarly essential in the construction of gender identity in both men and women. As opposition can be a common denominator on the axis of sex, satire can be among the determinants of gender identity construction. In the end, Juvenal’s Satire VI is explicated to further illustrate the theoretical argumentation. It is concluded that the opposition essential to satire can coalesce with the integral otherness in gender identity, hence to contribute to its construction.


satire; humor; gender identity; critical theory; Juvenal’s Satire VI

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