Performance and Embodied Politics in Favela Funk
Chapter Six: “Sit Down and Observe Your Own Destruction, Macho!”: Travesti Performances in Favela Funk
Perhaps, at this point, it has become apparent that I avoid using the term “queer” in my description of gender nonconforming performances in favela funk. There are a few important reasons for doing so. First and foremost, as Ochoa notes, queer is a category local to the U.S. that has traveled a great deal because of the “theoretical hegemony that allows for the publication and circulation of American texts around the world.”1 Scholars writing in different settings must be careful, as queer “does not have the same resonance” everywhere it goes.2 Additionally, as Eng, Halberstam, and Muñoz contend, the supremacy of U.S.-based scholarship reproduces dynamics that go beyond academia, in which meanings of queerness, and gender and sexuality categories more broadly, are subsumed by “U.S. nationalist identity and political agenda globally.”3 My work is committed precisely to undoing Western-centric readings of transgressive performances from women and transfeminine people of color, and a careless use of “queer” could inadvertently reinforce these tendencies.←161 | 162→
Queer theory has been accused of failing “to address culturally specific texts of knowledge(s) embedded in the material realities of non-White American middle-class LGBTQ people.”4 Moreover, queer theory’s focus on “selfhood, individual agency, and experience”5 comes at the expense of recognizing the impact class, race, citizenship, and more has on individual identity while simultaneously failing to acknowledge the importance of culture, community, relationships, and collective resistance so vital for the survival of LGBTQIA+ people of color.6 Relatedly, Cohen warns...
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