Subverting Gender, Patriarchy, and Nation in Carolina De Robertis’s The Gods of Tango

Kathryn Quinn-Sánchez, Georgian Court University
Vol. 38, No. 2 (Fall 2019), 407-423

This article analyzes the ways in which De Robertis represents gender in The Gods of Tango (2015) in order to subvert the traditional patriarchal, nationalist, heterosexist portrayal of immigrant life in early twentieth-century Buenos Aires. Through the application of Henri Lefebvre’s Production of Space (1991) as well as feminist geography, this article explores how spaces and the actions that are permitted within them enforce rigid societal norms. In The Gods of Tango, nineteen-year-old Leda travels to Argentina to join her new husband, Dante, only to find he has been killed. She assumes his identity, unsettling the official version of what it means to be a man, an Argentine, and a tango musician in the 1910s. Physically Leda/Dante acts, lives, and loves as a heterosexual man. Subversively, she acts, lives, and loves without society’s limitations and consequently lives a life of freedom that would not have been possible had she remained a woman in society’s eyes. In this narrative representation of gendered displacement, De Robertis rejects the normative, historical definitions of ideal citizenship (male/white/heterosexual) through the portrayal of characters who adapt and consequently transform how others perceive their gender.

Mary Wollstonecraft Sojourner Truth Margaret Atwood Abigail Adams Amy Tan H.D. Simone de Beauvoir Zora Neale Hurston Frances Burney Virginia Woolf

"The white saxifrage with the indented leafe is moste commended for the breakinge of the Stone."

— Turner, Herbal, III, 68 [1568]