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Seeing Beauty, Sensing Race in Transnational Indonesia$
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L. Ayu Saraswati

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780824836641

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824836641.001.0001

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Indonesian White Beauty

Indonesian White Beauty

Spatializing Race and Racializing Spatial Tropes

(p.60) 3 Indonesian White Beauty
Seeing Beauty, Sensing Race in Transnational Indonesia

L. Ayu Saraswati

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines how space and its spatial tropes become “imperative” signifiers for people's subjectivity, particularly at moments of circulations and encounters across different geographical boundaries. Drawing on beauty advertisements published in women's magazines after Indonesia gained its independence on August 17, 1945, the chapter considers the ways in which circulations and representations of emotions about (transnational) spaces construct a specific racial, skin color, and gendered subjectivity in post-independence Indonesia. It also discusses the discursive meanings of spatial tropes and the ways in which they are attached to certain emotions as well as the ways in which they then signify the meanings of specific “races” of women. It argues that Indonesia's nationalized geographical space became a useful signifier to provide meanings for an “Indonesian” white beauty category. The chapter provides evidence for the construction of a category of whiteness termed “Indonesian whiteness” and articulates the attachment between space, race, and emotions through the theoretical concept of emotionscape.

Keywords:   space, spatial tropes, beauty, advertisements, Indonesia, emotion, skin color, Indonesian white beauty, Indonesian whiteness, race

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