Accepted paper:

Feminine beauty as alternative practice in two Greek dance cultures


Natalia Koutsougera (Panteion University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores how feminine beauty and performances of charm and attraction, operate as potential destabilizing dynamics to the gendered heterosexual normalities of sensuality and flirting, within the framework of distinct, club and street, dance cultures in Athens, Greece.

Paper long abstract:

The focal point of this paper is feminine beauty and style performances as destabilizing forces. To argue this, I explore two ethnographic examples from contemporary youth-dance cultures in Greece. The first example draws on the spectacle of feminine beauty and female dance performances inside 'ellinadiko' club. Therein, glamorous girls use seductive dress codes and styles together with belly dance on the bar, dancing on the sounds of Greek-speaking and oriental-influenced mainstream music. Performing feminine beauty in the context of 'ellinadiko' brings forth a potential of 'dangerous', 'out-of-limit' woman - both a subject of desire and an object of fear - which troubles male control on heterosexual relating. The second example comes from the hip hop and street dance cultures in Athens. I follow female experimentations on street dress and dance styles as alternative beauty practices, in order to highlight the ambiguity of female identity which is not singular but multiple. In the context of street dancing, feminine beauty is performed by regressing between male, female and childish styles and ways of introducing the self, imbalancing the hegemonic norms of male hip hop community. Through these examples I suggest that beauty, style and female power can be understood as a battlefield of charm and attraction that portrays the destabilizing dynamics of gendered normality.

panel P39
'Alternative' beauty in 'alternative' communities, scenes and subcultures