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Feminism ruptured, or feminism repaired? Music, feminisms, and gender politics in Palestinian subcultures

Withers, Polly ORCID: 0000-0002-5892-3305 (2022) Feminism ruptured, or feminism repaired? Music, feminisms, and gender politics in Palestinian subcultures. In: Skalli, Loubna and Eltantawy, Nahed, (eds.) The Palgrave Handbook on Gender and Communication in the Middle East and North Africa. Palgrave Macmillan. (In Press)

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Feminist media studies routinely ignores how popular music shapes femininities and feminisms. Moreover, while scholarship on gender and communication addresses intersections between feminist politics and social media in the global north, the global south remains undertheorized. This chapter fills these gaps. It examines the contradictory ways in which subcultural music communicates gender in contemporary Palestine. Withers asks how young adults’ cultural practices simultaneously rupture and reproduce gendered power structures at different geopolitical scales. She makes two arguments. First, that young women and men play with patriarchal codes through lyrics and performances. Such transmissions disrupt heteropatriarchal expectations about identity and desire. Second, however, popular music does not constitute utopian sites of wholesale gender ‘emancipation’. While transgressing some gender norms, performances – and musicians’ framings of their performances – often assert novel controls. Young women particularly mobilise postfeminist frames to assert their personal ‘success’. These narratives foreground migratory (neo)liberal scripts of gendered freedom, sutured to individual agency, choice, and autonomy. The paper therefore concludes that as these young adults challenge local gender codes, they simultaneously conform to transnational, postfeminist notions of gendered ‘progress’. Thus, neither fully resistant nor entirely compromised, musicians’ practices highlight the ambiguous ways that music communicates gender in Palestine.

Item Type: Book Section
Additional Information: © 2022 Palgrave Macmillan
Divisions: Middle East Centre
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
M Music and Books on Music > M Music
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Date Deposited: 14 Mar 2022 08:21
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2023 10:17

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