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Dance and sexual politics : some implications of the status of women in selected dance forms

By Sobhna Keshavelal Poona


This thesis explores, from a feminist perspective, some implications on the status of women in selected dance forms, and addresses the perceptions of women as 'inferior' and 'subordinate'. One of the intentions behind the work was, indeed, to challenge prevailing perceptions and create an awareness of sexism, capitalism and patriarchy, especially for the uncritical and uninformed who have become its victims. Part 1 offers an analysis of the premises upon which social, political and economic inequality are founded and consolidated, with specific reference to sexual inequality and sexual prejudice. Utilising a Marxist-feminist and semiotic approach, the machinations of the traditional mass media are linked to negative imaging of the female body in support of the sexist, patriarchal, capitalist male manipulator, who benefits from women's subordinate social status. Part 2 addresses the issue of sexual politics, and the implications for dance research and performance. The researcher offers a descriptive analysis of four specific dance forms, which serve to highlight the socialisation and educational processes that shape our perceptions and instruct our lives. A set of questionnaires was sent to fourteen autonomous dance institutions, including those attached to national performing arts councils. The thesis concludes with a summary of the results of the questionnaires that were distributed amongst female dancers, dance students and choreographers. The researcher questions our culture's preoccupation with the female body image, and posits the urgent need for an assessment of this situation, and an education which will create a better understanding and a more harmonious climate for development.

Topics: NX Arts in general
Year: 1992
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