Hypatia 28 (4):749-766 (2013)

Robin M. James
University of North Carolina, Charlotte
I distinguish between the nineteenth- to twentieth-century (modernist) tendency to rehabilitate (white) femininity from the abject popular, and the twentieth- to twenty-first-century (postmodernist) tendency to rehabilitate the popular from abject white femininity. Careful attention to the role of nineteenth-century racial politics in Nietzsche's Gay Science shows that his work uses racial nonwhiteness to counter the supposedly deleterious effects of (white) femininity (passivity, conformity, and so on). This move—using racial nonwhiteness to rescue pop culture from white femininity—is a common twentieth- and twenty-first-century practice. I use Nietzsche to track shifts from classical to neo-liberal methods of appropriating “difference.” Hipness is one form of this neoliberal approach to difference, and it is exemplified by the approach to race, gender, and pop culture in Vincente Minnelli's film The Band Wagon. I expand upon Robert Gooding-Williams's reading of this film, and argue that mid-century white hipness dissociates the popular from femininity and whiteness, and values the popular when performed by white men “acting black.” Hipness instrumentalizes femininity and racial nonwhiteness so that any benefits that might come from them accrue only to white men, and not to the female and male artists of color whose works are appropriated
Keywords nietzsche  race  gender  music  feminism  popular music  popular culture
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/hypa.12003
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

References found in this work BETA

This Sex Which Is Not One.Luce Irigaray - 1985 - Cornell University Press.
White (Pp. 457-468).R. Dyer - 1999 - In Jessica Evans & Stuart Hall (eds.), Visual Culture: The Reader. Sage Publications in Association with the Open University.

View all 14 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles


Added to PP index

Total views
845 ( #6,564 of 2,446,657 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
51 ( #13,307 of 2,446,657 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes