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Dissemination of Sexual Signifiers: Transgressive Hair

  • Kafai, Shayda
Publication Date
Feb 01, 2009
eScholarship - University of California
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Performance artist, clown, and juggler Jennifer Miller exists in self-defined liminal space: “Liminal means: an ‘in between place.’ It means ‘in a doorway, dawn or dusky’ … In the theater, it’s when the lights go out and before the performance begins.” Living as a woman with a beard since her late teens, Miller began to actively challenge sexually codified spaces and stereotypes. Miller created Circus Amok, a circus that confronts heteronormativity and social and political injustices, as an extension of her body and the message it carries. Aware of the traditionally conflicting images of breast and full beard, Miller uses her physical appearance as a conduit to perpetually challenge the hegemonically established borders of man and woman. Simultaneously, the essential female category is also be deconstructed; the validity of these categories is questioned. It is important to note that the essentialist terms “man,” “woman,” “female,” and “male” are used in this paper maintaining Judith Butler’s notion of strategic provisionality.

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