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Joanna Elfving-Hwang

This book discusses perceptions of ‘femininity’ in contemporary South Korea and the extent to which fictional representations in South Korean women’s fiction of the 1990s challenges the enduring association of the feminine with domesticity, docility and passivity. While existing literature addresses Korean women’s legal, educational, political and employment issues, this study is the first to analyse the cultural values that define femininity in the context of the Korean cultural imagination, concentrating on literary representations of femininity.

Robert W. Mitchell and Alan L. Ellis

heterosexual in their gender-related attributions. The current study examined the effect of labeling two men as cat persons, dog persons, gay, heterosexual, or adopted on undergraduates’ perceptions of these men’s gender-related personality attributes (masculinity, femininity) and likability (for comparison

Hannah McCann

This chapter focuses on the notion that particular ways of understanding femininity have been historically ‘othered’ within critical gender theory. From Pamela Robertson’s discussions of female ‘camp,’ that positions women embracing feminine excess against a backdrop of male homosexuality, to Angela McRobbie’s critique of pleasure-seeking women whom she dubs ‘phallic girls,’ this chapter examines why masculinity readings are often privileged as a marker of resistance to hegemonic notions of femininity and why some aspects of the category of femininity are often not in and of themselves considered as centralising concepts for analyses of gender. Along these lines, this chapter focuses on two central premises: first, within contemporary feminist writing, femininity is often viewed as symbolically representative of oppression and/or symptomatic of a problematic post-feminist raunch culture; second, queer theory perspectives allow for different viewpoints on the same phenomena as that considered within feminist writing (such as interrogating raunch culture) but tend to offer readings that predominately focus on appropriations of masculinity as markers of female resistance, rather than considering the subversive potential of femininity per se. Following from these premises, this chapter explores the rise of the queer femme movement as exemplary of offering accounts of gender resistance wherein femininity is a central standalone concept, without recourse to questions of masculinity. This chapter contributes to a limited but growing body of research that focuses on femme identity, and extends analysis to more general critiques of femininity being made outside of queer theoretical approaches in academia. Investigation of writing on femme reveals at once a sense of resistance to hegemonic gender norms whilst simultaneously recovering some aspects of femininity from a theoretical positioning as ‘other.’ However, this chapter also raises questions regarding the possible re-inscription of new queer hegemonies that femme writing is at risk of instantiating. In particular, the problem of dominant and overarching empowerment narratives in recuperating femininity as worthy of investigation is considered.

Simidele Dosekun, a popular Nigerian lifestyle website, presents images of young Nigerians, mostly women, stylishly dressed at local ‘red carpet’ events. Pseudonymous users post comments variously celebrating or critiquing these women’s dress, hair, make-up, accessories and/or bodies. Indeed, the website incites such gendered surveillance through features such as ‘Pick Your Fave,’ where users are asked to judge which of two women spotted in the same outfit wore it better. In this chapter, I present a discursive analysis of such user comments on I argue that they serve to construct and police new styles of femininity in Nigeria. They do so by subjecting the images on the website to intense scrutiny and to affective judgements of fashionability. Yet I show that these judgements are fluid and contested while, for the women pictured, a fashionable feminine identity is also unstable and impossible to definitively achieve because iterative and contingent upon the gaze of others. As such, the user comments on BellaNaija have the effect of inciting and normalising feminine hyper-attention to appearance, and hence the relentless labour of self-stylisation and self-monitoring that this entails.

Häusner, Sophie and Ulbrich, Claudia

Like masculinity, femininity is a cultural construct manufactured in discourses and social practices.  The concept relates to a principle that emerged in the 19th century of a gender order in which the feminine was opposed to the masculine and naturalized. In this context, femininity was on the one

Staging Socialist Femininity

Gender Politics and Folklore Performance in Serbia


Ana Hofman

Ana Hofman examines the negotiation of the gender performances in Serbian rural areas as a result of the socialist gender policy and creation of the new “femininity” in the public sphere. She focuses on the stage performances of female amateur groups at the Village Gatherings, state-sponsored events held from the 1970s through the mid-1990s in the southeastern Serbian region of Niško Polje. Offering a multifaceted picture of the personal experiences of the socialist ideology of gender equality, Staging Socialist Femininity investigates the complex relationships between personal, interpersonal and political levels in socialism. By showing the interplay between ideology, representational and social practices in the realm of musical performance, it challenges the strong division in scholarly narratives between ideology and practice in socialist societies.

Porranee Singpliam

and their culturally sanctioned femininity waver and transform in this relatively stable political atmosphere. The opposition of the ‘Madonna-whore’ binary is perhaps the best terminology to describe Thai femininity in this decade. 7 Kan Phatthana and Women The disparity between social strata, class

“Femininity without Feminism”

Korea’s First Woman President and Her Political Leadership

Soo-Hyun Mun

argument of Phillips, namely, the importance of symbolic recognition. Although Park’s “femininity without feminism” inevitably led to the negligence of gender politics in her government, she contributed to the elevation of women’s social status through various unintended consequences. Indeed, Park’s mere

Blackberry Girls and Jesus’s Brides

Pentecostal-Charismatic Christianity and the (Im-)Moralization of Urban Femininities in Contemporary Kinshasa

Katrien Pype

important Charismatic leader in Kinshasa. Obviously she could not tell her fiancé, but she was happy with this solution since it would allow her to stay in touch with other men. This vignette brings together the two main topics of this article: Pentecostal-Charismatic Christianity and urban femininities


Edited by Peng-hsiang Chen and Whitney Crothers Dilley

The present volume of Critical Studies is a collection of selected essays on the topic of feminism and femininity in Chinese literature. Although feminism has been a hot topic in Chinese literary circles in recent years, this remarkable collection represents one of the first of its kind to be published in English. The essays have been written by well-known scholars and feminists including Kang-I Sun Chang of Yale University, and Li Ziyun, a writer and feminist in Shanghai, China. The essays are inter- and multi-disciplinary, covering several historical periods in poetry and fiction (from the Ming-Qing periods to the twentieth century). In particular, the development of women’s writing in the New Period (post-1976) is examined in depth. The articles thus offer the reader a composite and broad perspective of feminism and the treatment of the female in Chinese literature. As this remarkable new collection attests, the voices of women in China have begun calling out loudly, in ways that challenge prevalent views about the Chinese female persona.