Shadow feminism is the overwhelming theme of the text. The patriarchal form of traditional power is shown through the passing of power through the mother to daughter bond. If one actively denies the patriarchal form of power then the opposite of power is received and the bond is broken.
What happens when the upward path is broken? How does one assert strength without normative power? Strength in unbecoming a woman is shown through Little Miss Sunshine. The moms who take the pageant seriously are training their daughters to succeed in becoming a women. Olive Hoover breaks the social norms and unhinges the mother daughter bond when she starts stripping/ failing on stage.
Shadow feminism is the same concept,it’s about the unseen, the unbeing and this is where the “Masochistic passivity” comes into play with Halberstam. Halberstam argues that stripping down to nothing shows a form of passivity. We live in a producing, consuming and reproducing world. Action is the norm. So one way to protest against the status quo is by being raw and passive.
“While the male masochist’s in habits a kind of heroic anti heroism by refusing social privilege and offering himself up Christ-like as a martyr for the cause, the female masochists performance is far more complex and offers a critique of the very ground of the human(139).”
Halberstam examines “Cut Piece” by Julia Bryan Wilson and it shows this idea of the women unbeing and slowly cutting clothing away from her. This idea of radical passivity can be analysed in Ono’s performance because there is no hope for her. There is only pain and suffering but yet there’s is no fighting against it.