By Henry Spiller

In West Java, Indonesia, all it takes is a woman’s voice and a drum beat to make a guy wake up and dance. on a daily basis, males there—be they scholars, pedicab drivers, civil servants, or businessmen—breach traditional criteria of decorum and succumb to the rhythm at village ceremonies, weddings, political rallies, and nightclubs. The song the boys dance to varies from conventional gong ensembles to the modern pop referred to as dangdut, yet they always dance with nice enthusiasm. In Erotic Triangles, Henry Spiller attracts on a long time of ethnographic learn to discover the explanations at the back of this phenomenon, arguing that Sundanese males use dance to discover and enact contradictions of their gender identities.

Framing the 3 the most important components of Sundanese dance—the woman entertainer, the drumming, and men’s experience of freedom—as a triangle, Spiller connects them to quite a number different theoretical views, drawing on thinkers from Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Lévi-Strauss, and Freud to Euclid. through granting males permission to actually practice their masculinity, Spiller finally concludes, dance presents an important area for either reinforcing and resisting orthodox gender ideologies.

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Additional resources for Erotic Triangles: Sundanese Dance and Masculinity in West Java (Chicago Studies in Ethnomusicology)

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Such actions promise rewards for those who can get away with pursuing them. Malu’s function is to mediate the constant negotiation of the size of each individual’s “share” of the rewards, with input from society as a whole, based not only on how well one conforms to social conventions, but also on how gracefully one manipulates social conventions to one’s advantage. Malu, then is a measure of how much power an individual can hold, or at least is proportional to the individÂ� ual’s capacity for power.

He infers a broad picture of Indonesians standards for men “from the criticisms voiced of inequalities between women and men”: The portrait that emerges is of men always acting as heads of families and as breadwinners, operating in the public sphere, and not being responsible for the upbringing of children or the sharing of household work. â•… (Oetomo 2000:57 n. 1) R. W. Connell would characterize what Oetomo describes above as a hegemonic masculinity—the “configuration of gender practices” that represents the “one form of masculinity .

Comparing these male categories with the two classifications for female wayang characters—putri lenyep (most refined female) and putri lanyap (refined female)—immediately suggests a fundamental difference between the range of socially acceptable masculine behaviors and socially acceptable feminine ones. Men may be coarse in public; women apparently may not. To dance these characters, performers draw upon a treasury of stereotyped gestures and movements as well as different kinds of costuming. In wayang performances, the dancer’s own physical characteristics determine to a certain extent which characters he or she might portray; rarely is a tall, husky, or unattractive man well received in performing refined satria dances, while a slightly built, handsome man is fated to be typecast in such roles.

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