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


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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 Chapter
Uncontrolled Keywords: Queer theory, singer-songwriter, Cambridge University Press
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > ML Literature of music
Divisions: Schools > School of Media Arts
Depositing User: Megan Rogerson-Berry
Date Deposited: 26 Jul 2016 23:07
Last Modified: 21 Jul 2023 04:21

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