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Mobility, white bodies and desire: Euro-American women in Jakarta

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-08, 21:22 authored by Anne-Meike FechterAnne-Meike Fechter
This paper illustrates how cultural logics of desire are being transformed in the context of the global economy refashioning intimate lives. Exploring the experiences of Euro-American female professionals in Jakarta, it suggests that they become uncomfortably visible as ‘white bodies’; their desirability appears compromised, especially given Orientalist discourses which valorise Asian women's bodies. At the same time, women's position as well-paid employees generates a contradictory logic of desire: the ‘ego-boost’ they experience at work may intensify their demands on the masculinity and enlightened views of potential partners, thus rendering Indonesian men, with their perceived bodily effeminacy and ‘traditional values’ unattractive. As one response to the lack of desirability, some women engage in a moral discourse that casts Indonesian women whom they consider ‘bargirls’, as well as the Euro-American men they attract, as morally deficient. The paper thus provides an alternative perspective on reconfigurations of desire in the context of global gendered mobility.

History

Publication status

  • Published

File Version

  • Submitted version

Journal

The Australian Journal of Anthropology

ISSN

1035-8811

Publisher

Wiley-Blackwell

Issue

1

Volume

27

Page range

66-83

Department affiliated with

  • Anthropology Publications

Full text available

  • Yes

Peer reviewed?

  • Yes

Legacy Posted Date

2015-07-01

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