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Authenticity is a key issue in any study of subcultures or groups who define themselves as alternative. I will discuss three different stages of research about…
Authenticity is a key issue in any study of subcultures or groups who define themselves as alternative. I will discuss three different stages of research about ‘alternative’ women, with interviews conducted in the late 1990s, and then return interviews with some of the original participants in 2010 and 2018. At all three stages of data collection, the participants were at pains to place themselves as distanced or marginalized from the mainstream, by choice, articulated in various ways. At the same time, they placed themselves as being authentic or at the centre, with people they termed as part-timers, newbies, tourists and weekenders existing on the periphery and at the margins. How do they measure their place in the hierarchy, and whose hierarchy is it? The chapter asks, what is authenticity in alternative subcultures, why is it so important that such marginalized groups are authentic (to themselves, as well as to outsiders), and how do they achieve it. The chapter also explores how ageing and gender impacts on the participants’ identities as alternative women.
This chapter will focus on the Netflix television series The Exorcist (2016–) starring Gina Davis as Angela Rance/Regan MacNeill and Ben Daniels as Father Marcus. The…
This chapter will focus on the Netflix television series The Exorcist (2016–) starring Gina Davis as Angela Rance/Regan MacNeill and Ben Daniels as Father Marcus. The Rances are a well-off urban family in Chicago, with Angela, a successful and powerful professional woman. The Exorcist allows Angela Rance, a woman in midlife, to be central to the narrative, despite the paucity of positive, central roles for women over 50.
The chapter will also examine the depiction of gender through the themes of families and homes. Homes are sanctuaries but can also be a site of violence. The Rance home is the first clue that all is not well, when Angela hears noises in the walls. Families, homes, faith and betrayal are everywhere in The Exorcist, including the Rances, the Church, the priesthood, the Friars of Ascension and the homeless settlement. Traditionally, families and homes are where women can achieve creativity and some kind of agency, as well as being contained.
The third approach of this chapter will be to compare gender representations in the television series and the film The Exorcist (1973). In theory, the intervening 44 years could have seen gains for women and feminism, but 2017 has seen women’s rights eroded yet again. The film was made at the height of the women’s liberation movement and second-wave feminism, and at the start of the era of ‘video nasties’ and explicitly gory slasher and cannibal films, so I will use the historical context to frame a discussion about the two different versions.
The act of becoming ‘heavily tattooed’, with its historical association with deviant subcultures, continues to carry a social stigma and evoke negative sanctions. This is…
The act of becoming ‘heavily tattooed’, with its historical association with deviant subcultures, continues to carry a social stigma and evoke negative sanctions. This is especially so for women, who must also contend with gender norms within the highly masculinised tattoo subculture. For women, the experience of becoming heavily tattooed comes to represent an embodied resistance to normative ideals of beauty, against which the participants construct their own alternative gender and beauty philosophies. Besides gender norms, the tattoo world has specific ethos which divides the serious subcultural member from those more casually connected to it. The physical parameter of the subculture finds people gathering in tattoo studios and at tattoo conventions, as well as consuming tattoo-oriented media, such as magazines and television shows. This study draws on in-depth interviews with 36 participants across the United States who consider themselves serious tattoo collectors. From their stories, we learn about the importance of participating in this leisure activity and how becoming heavily tattooed impacts their sense of self, gender and identity.