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Visible Difference, Audible Difference: Female Singers and Gay Male Fans in Russian Popular Music

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Studies of Soviet and post-Soviet popular musics have tended to give scant attention to the variables of gender and sexuality, often positing a tacit and de facto heterosexuality on the part of both performer and audience. In this article, I focus on the dynamic of difference—musical, visual, and discursive—in the musics of three post-Soviet, female singer/musicians (Zhanna Aguzarova, Eva Pol'na, and Zemfira Ramazanova), showing how such difference serves as a locus of attraction for many gay male listeners, and performatively questions hierarchies based on gender and sexuality. In conclusion, I posit the potency of the female voice as a variable that short-circuits the “gaze,” setting up a relationship of mutually salubrious reciprocity between artist and (gay) audience.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: July 1, 2009


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