Gender Divisions in Brexit Literature An Intersectional Analysis of Gender, Power, Class, and Ethnicity in Brexit Literature

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This thesis addresses the representation of Brexit in contemporary literature called “Brexlit” to provide an analysis of how gendered constructs underlie issues of power, class, and ethnicity in contemporary popular Brexit literature. Two novels categorised as Brexlit will be analysed: Sam Byers’ Perfidious Albion (2018) and Jonathan Coe’s Middle England (2018). Gendered norms and divisions inherent to power, class, and ethnicity are found in both novels. Both novels engage with issues of polarisation and representation in positions of power in Britain. The people in power in both novels are mostly men and the power these men exude, predominantly in their language, is exclusively of masculine nature. Women and gender minorities (e.g. non-binary, transgender or intersex folks) are underrepresented in positions of power because power is gendered: power is only appreciated as a traditionally masculine quality. Representation regarding class in both novels is problematic as well, as all politicians and men in privileged positions are middle-class or upper-class. These middle-class and upper-class men feel indifferent towards working-class people, who in their turn feel left out and find a scapegoat in peoples of ethnic minorities. Peoples of ethnic minorities are underrepresented in the media and the government. This thesis aims to give a broader view of issues that are presented in contemporary Brexit literature by providing an analysis of the gendered divisions of power, class, and ethnicity. Its findings might help to create an environment where the issue of gender representation in government can be questioned and discussed further. Correct representation of gender in government is imperative for a democracy to be able to work properly, as everyone should be able to be and to feel represented by the government. Not having this representation directly undermines the basis of democracy, as one of its most basic values is equality. Keywords: Gender, Hegemonic Masculinity, Brexit Literature, Brexit, Power, Populism, Class, Ethnicity, Race, Divisions, Polarisation, Representation, Equality
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