Gender is the repeated stylization of the body, a set of repeated acts within a highly rigid regulatory frame that congeal over time to produce the Subjects of Sex/Gender/Desire appearance of substance, of a natural sort of being.
Judith Butler – Gender Trouble
Sarah Walter’s lesbian romance novel ‘Tipping the Velvet’ takes us into an exhilarating journey of Nancy’s playful sexuality. It crosses the boundaries of the strictly heteronormative society of a Victorian England during the 1890s and shows the fluidity of gender in the context of different regulatory frames of desire, culture and class.
Walters divides the book into three major parts of Nancy’s life. Each part unfolds in a set of different events that helps shape Nancy’s fluctuated gender. She examines Nancy’s gender transformation against the powerful drive of desire, performativity, language, melancholia and class. In the first part she introduces Nancy to the world of male impersonators through the character of Kitty the performer, in the second part she examines the power of class in shaping gender expressions through the character of the rich woman Diana, and in the last part she places a matured Nancy into a world of philanthropy and social activism through the character of Florence.