Geography Reference
In-Depth Information
Female clubbers are made more welcome insofar as they project images of sexual
availability (Hutton 2006), further creating a space in which some gendered perform-
ances are privileged over others. Power operates by means of dividing practices rather
tified by a normalizing gaze, subjectify themselves, and are divided between and within
themselves as desirable or not (cf. Foucault 1982).
Affective Practices
The form of life in the club is strongly patterned by gender in ways that reflect and ex-
ceed the gendered performances that the space itself promotes. A formal dress code ap-
plies to male clubbers, who may be refused entrance to the club if they arrive in overly
casual clothing. Although no formal rules apply to female dress, powerful normative
constraints regulate the way in which female clubbers dress. The female clubbers we
spoke to said they “felt judged” if not dressed in accordance with other female patrons.
For example, Amy stated that “when I go to Jacks I always feel like I have to dress a
certain way.” In general, female clubbers generally dressed in fashionable, appealing,
heteronormative attire not dissimilar to that displayed in the images on the club's web-
site and advertising media (see Figure 2.1 ). Men and women dressed to look good, for
part of the pleasure of clubbing was to be appreciated for how one looked—as commu-
nicated through glances and comments that occasioned the joy of being desired, envied,
or admired. Conversely, they sought to avoid the disappointment of disapproving looks
or rejection. Dress, looking good, and the pleasures of heterosexual approval were vital
elements of a happy vibe.
The space itself seemed to promote the idea of female clubbers enjoying and parti-
cipating in their objectification, but the patrons we spoke to were ambivalent. Although
female participants made reference to dressing up and “feeling good” about the looks
they received, this was always circumscribed by the fear of evaluation. This is exempli-
fied in our interview with Paula, where being looked at was also constructed in terms
of acute displeasure. Paula, a twenty-three-year-old white female, constructed Jacks in
negative terms, stating that it was a space in which she felt observed, judged, and out of
place. She constructed alternative music clubs in more positive terms as places in which
one could be more free.
For example, when asked by the interviewer to describe her experience of objectific-
ation, she explains that “it's like a man undressing you with his eyes, looking at you like
a piece of meat that he can take home and shag. Its, ja, being looked at like, like a dildo
or something.” Prompted to provide a more detailed description of this look, Paula ref-
erences a certain “facial expression.” “It's a kind of a down the nose look and up and
down your body a couple times, but like focusing on specific areas like your bum and
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