Date of Award
Bernadette M. Calafell, Ph.D.
Femininity, Funk carioca, Funkeiras, Performance, Queer, Vernacular discourse
Rio de Janeiro's funk movement is one of Brazil's most important contemporary cultural and musical expressions. Emerged in the 1970s, Rio's funk was consolidated in the favelas during the 1980s, establishing an ambiguous and tense relationship with local government and media: at times, being legitimized as a cultural form, but also being frequently criminalized. The music is a hybrid combination of diverse Afro rhythms and a heavy bass line, and it is performed in aggressive ways, as well as with mockery and sensuality. Women in Rio's funk, the funkeiras, joined the movement in the late 1990s performing about sex, relationships, and female competition. Accordingly, they have been responsible for a lot of the media attention the movement enjoys especially since the mid-2000s. Thus, even though they are popular, academia has not picked up on their success, as they have been consistently understudied in comparison to general research done in the movement, usually about men. The few studies about the funkeiras focus on the analysis of lyrics, generating conclusions that are unsurprisingly binary: the women either merely conform to patriarchy or they are solely resisting it. In order to offer a distinct understanding of the funkeiras, this project proposes an analysis dedicated to their on and off stage performances, specifically as they relate to femininity. Using in performance ethnography as a method, we have completed a series of interviews with the women, along with the observation of live shows. This approach enables a more complex understanding of the funkeiras' performances of femininity and heterosexuality, as they negotiate their identities in non-linear and often contradictory ways--simultaneously conforming and resisting dominant culture. We conclude that it is in the ambiguities of their acts of heterosexual femininity that we find possibilities for transgression of and resistance to traditional feminine behavior, while possibly queering heterosexuality and femininity. This study hopes to highlight the importance of performance in the understanding of complex and contradictory acts of femininity, which can ultimately contribute to the queering of feminist studies as an intersectional strategy.
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Moreira, Raquel, "Bitches Unleashed: Women in Rio's Funk Movement, Performances of Heterosexual Femininity, and Possibilities of Resistance" (2014). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 448.
Received from ProQuest
Communication, Gender studies, Women's studies