Negotiations of Identity and Embodiment through Language

In centering terminology, this study uncovers negotiations of language in reference to racialization and embodiment. By foregrounding the butch/femme dichotomy, I explore how language in reference to the self becomes altered and negotiated amongst a cohort of queer women of color exotic dancers. I argue that language and choice terminology serve as platforms for not only erotic expression for participants, but also a means to enact power over the body. By utilizing terms such as “stud” and “dom” in reference to the self, dancers move beyond the limits of a butch/femme dichotomy to include reference to race and the body in their self-identification. These terms also negate cisgender expression; thereby creating multiple possibilities in reference to identity.


Part of panel Confronting the State: Power, Activism, and the Self
October 1, 2016, 11:15–13:00