120 pages | 5 B/W Illus.
Drawing on interviews with a breadth of different showgirls, from shows in Paris, Las Vegas, Berlin, and Los Angeles, as well as her own artworks and those by other contemporary and historical artists, this book examines the experiences of showgirls and those who watch them, to challenge the narrowness of representations and discussions around what has been termed ‘sexualisation’ and ‘the gaze’. An account of the experience of being ‘looked at’, the book raises questions of how the showgirl is represented, the nature of the pleasure that she elicits and the suspicion that surrounds it, and what this means for feminism and the act of looking.
An embodied articulation of a new politics of looking, Viewing Pleasure and Being a Showgirl engages with the idea (reinforced by feminist critique) that images of women are linked to selling and that women’s bodies have been commodified in capitalist culture, raising the question of whether this enables particular bodies – those of glamorous women on display – to become scapegoats for our deeper anxieties about consumerism.
1. How Do They Look?
2. How Do I Look?: How Do I Feel as I Watch Showgirls?
3. How Do I Look?: Doing Showgirl
Conclusion: Showgirl Manifesto
Appendix: Showgirl Lexicon
Sexualities in Society offers a dedicated and much-needed space for the very best in interdisciplinary research on sex, sexualities, and twenty-first century society. Its contemporary focus, methodological inclusivity, and international scope will provide a distinctive vantage point in terms of surveying the social organization of sexuality. It critically addresses numerous aspects of sex and sexuality, from media representations, to embodied sexual practices, to the sometimes controversial issues surrounding consent, sexual fantasy, and identity politics. It represents a critically rigorous, theoretically informed, and genuinely interdisciplinary attempt to interrogate a complex nexus of ideas regarding the ways in which sexualities inform, and are informed by, the broader sociopolitical contexts in which they emerge.