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Dancing from the HeartMovement, Gender, and Sociality in the Cook Islands$
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Kalissa Alexeyeff

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780824832445

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824832445.001.0001

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Shy Girls and Show-Offs

Shy Girls and Show-Offs

Dancing Local Values

(p.84) Chapter Three Shy Girls and Show-Offs
Dancing from the Heart

Kalissa Alexeyeff

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter maps the relationship between expressive practices and femininity, focusing on the performative presentation of femininity through dance and, particularly, the Miss Cook Islands beauty pageant. This beauty competition and others like it display the contradictions inherent in performing femininity. On the one hand, women who join such competitions have the potential to become individual paragons of Cook Islands femininity. They are simultaneously required to maintain their modest, self-effacing characteristics, which represent group values. In this opposition, expressive practices play a mediational role, enacting an interplay between individual distinction and group affiliation. Evaluations of femininity (encompassing physical and moral comportment) are conjoined with ideas about race, community, kinship, and family.

Keywords:   femininity, Miss Cook Islands, beauty pageant, beauty competition, femininity, group values

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