Gender identity, the queer gaze, and female singer-songwriters

Rogerson-Berry, Megan (2016) Gender identity, the queer gaze, and female singer-songwriters. In: Cambridge Companion to the Singer-Songwriter. Cambridge Companions to Music . Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, pp. 246-256. ISBN 9781107680913

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Abstract or Summary

Gender Identity, the Queer Gaze and Female Singer-Songwriters This chapter focuses on the gender identity of female singer-songwriters. The construction and representation of the gender identities of singer-songwriters KT Tunstall (UK), Missy Higgins (Australia) and Bic Runga (New Zealand), artists who destabilise typical binary notions of gender in their media output (specifically their music videos), are analysed in order to argue that female masculinity is a means for singer-songwriters to negotiate a dichotomously gendered mainstream, constructed to appeal the ‘male gaze’. It discusses the role of the singer-songwriter in the folk tradition as a vehicle for destabilising heteronormative gender binaries, where female musicians perform roles both reaffirming femininity (singer), and signifying masculinity through it’s link to authorship (songwriter). This chapter contends that blurring the lines of ‘cultural differentiation of females from males allows for multidimensional readings that appeal to a queer gaze, particularly from the perspective of a female spectator. The effect of this is arguably a wider mainstream appeal, inclusive of heterosexual and queer female spectators, increasing cultural and economic capital and artistic credibility.

Item Type:Book Section
Keywords that describe the item:Queer theory, singer-songwriter, Cambridge University Press
Subjects:M Music and Books on Music > ML Literature of music
Divisions:Schools > School of Media Arts
ID Code:4427
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Deposited On:26 Jul 2016 23:07
Last Modified:19 Dec 2018 20:48

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