A personal, revealing, and sometimes humorous exploration of female experience, Performing Femininity challenges traditional and feminist perspectives on gender roles. Using ethnographic method, Lesa Lockford transforms herself into an image-obsessed weight watcher, an exotic dancer, and a theatrical performer. In several evocative narratives, Lockford uses this experimental methodology to rupture the conventional dichotomy of patriarchal versus feminist points of view, goading and challenging her audience as she breaches the borders of these typically opposed ideologies. She explores how both paradigms constrain women, but also how they are simultaneously enacted and subverted in the "performances" women play in their daily lives. Performing Femininity will be a provocative read for the student of feminist thought and for those researchers looking at innovative ways to produce and present their research.
This book is a groundbreaking work of utterly fine prose rendered in a most intriguing and often beguiling style. It is a full performance of theory and self on every page. The exploration of women via 'subversive feminism' is a welcome addition to the growing complexity of theoretical and ethnographic explorations of womanhood in postmodern culture. Lesa Lockford's book is a major contribution to that dialogue and one that I am quite sure will spark a great deal of self-reflexive thought, writing, performance, and debate.--H. L. Goodall, Jr., head, Hugh Downs School of Communication, Arizona State University