Fernald, A. E. (2014) ‘Taxi! The Modern Taxicab as Feminist Heterotopia’, Modernist Cultures. 9 (2) 213-23.2
The taxicab operated as a crucial transitional mode of transport for bourgeois women, allowing them maximum power as spectators when it was still brave for a woman to be a pedestrian. The writings of Virginia Woolf, which so often depict bourgeois women coping with modernity, form the chief context in which to explore the role of the taxicab in liberating the modern woman. The taxi itself, clumsy and ungendered, encases a woman’s body and protects her from the male gaze. At the same time, a woman in a taxi can look out upon the street or freely ignore it. As such, the taxi is a type of heterotopia: a real place but one which functions outside of and in a critical relation to, the norms of the rest of the community.
5 November 2014