Women and Bullfighting
Gender, Sex and the Consumption of Tradition
This book investigates the popularity and success of contemporary women performers in bullfighting culture, which has been framed by a discourse of 'traditionalist' masculinity. This examination of the changing situation of women in the bullfighting world is used to explore the ways in which gender is represented, enacted and negotiated in contemporary Spain. The bullfight in the 1990s is in an ambiguous position: it is a 'traditional' performance in a changing consumer society. In order to survive, it needs to adapt itself to a wider social context and, in particular, to international media coverage. It is in this context that the current success of women performers is located. However, women performers are a contested phenomenon in the bullfighting world: there is heated debate over their acceptability, much of which focuses on the body. Moreover, the entry of women into the bullfight questions existing definitions of the sport's ritual structure and of gender relations in Spain. Thoroughly researched and compelling to read, Women and Bullfighting addresses these issues and argues that existing traditionalist approaches to gender, bullfighting and ritual in Spain need to be revised in order to locate women bullfighters in the context of a richly varied culture which is increasingly affected by the media and contemporary patterns of consumption. This provocative book will be of interest to researchers and students of anthropology, gender studies, sociology, cultural studies, media studies and Spanish studies.
Table of Contents
Part 1 Setting the scene: prologue - constructing femininity and inventing tradition; introduction - a "world of bullfighting". Part 2 Rethinking gender and bullfighting in Andalusia: slaying anthropology's goat - men, women and reputation in Andalusia; gender, bullfighting and anthropology - theorizing women bullfighters. Part 3 Detras de la Barrera? Women off stage and women creeping out from behind the scenes: wife, seductress, mother and the beautiful spectator - representations of femininities and "tradition"; active "Aficonadas" - a gendered lens on a photographic ritual. Part 4 Women performers - from the public arena to a domestic screen: gender, power and access to the arena - media, experience and representations of self; "Toreras" and "trajes" - dressing up in the names of history; breasts in the bullring - female physiology, women bullfighters and competing femininities; from ritual performance to media commodity - women performers and media events. Part 5 Conclusions: modern femininities and consuming traditions. Appendix: questions of translation and terminology.
Sarah Pink Lecturer in Sociology,Loughborough University