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Tigers of a Different StripePerforming Gender in Dominican Music$
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Sydney Hutchinson

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226405322

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226405636.001.0001

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date: 23 June 2018

A Gendered History

A Gendered History

(p.26) 2 A Gendered History
Tigers of a Different Stripe

Sydney Hutchinson

University of Chicago Press

This chapter traces the development of Dominican masculinities and femininities, exploring how they relate to one another. From the hegemonic hombre serio/manso and mujer seria to the subversive tíguere and tíguera, passing through constructions like the masculine montero, Concho Primo, hombre gallo, viejete, and bacano and feminine atrevida and vieja que baila, the author demonstrates how social change, and particularly the economic transformations from feudalism to neoliberalism, has been inked to new ways of performing manhood and womanhood that, while uniquely Dominican, are related to similar developments elsewhere in the Black Atlantic. Examples show how gendered archetypes have appeared in literature, politics, and musical performance from the time of independence to the tumult of the early twentieth century, and from the repressive Trujillo era and up to the present time. The appearance of the tíguera role for women is especially noted, as it enabled the appearance of a surprising number of successful female instrumentalists leading otherwise all-male bands in merengue típico – a unique occurrence in Latin American music. The overall acceptance of such a role in a symbolically powerful music is shown to be significant, not only for Dominicans but also for scholars of Caribbean music and gender.

Keywords:   masculinity, femininity, gender history, social change, neoliberalism, music performance

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