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Girl talk: Feminist phonocentrism as an act of resistance in the musical Hair

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In response to Wollman’s assertion that ‘despite its left-leaning approach to the many social and political issues it tackles, Hair is jarringly old-fashioned in its depictions of women’, this article instead proposes that Hair’s sung moments function as acts of resistance against the hegemonic, patriarchal values of musical theatre in both form and content. By adopting Annette Schlichter’s proposition of a ‘feminist phonocentrism’ which positions the voice as a ‘metaphor of agency and self-representation […] thereby allowing for an authentic self-presence’, the analysis presented illustrates a rejection of historical discourses that persistently link the female voice to an absence of social and cultural authority. With specific reference to songs from the score and their interpretations, this article celebrates ‘girl talk’ forming at the margins.
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Keywords: African American; Hair; feminist; gender; girl groups; phonocentrism

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2018

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