From Blues Women to B-Girls: Performing Badass Femininity

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This article introduces the concept of badass femininity, a marginalized femininity captured in the performances of contemporary b-girls (women breakdancers) and blues women of the 1920s. The author uses the work of Hortense Spillers, Maria Lugones, Chela Sandoval, and Angela Davis to argue that non-normative gender performances from the fringes of society are necessary consequence of histories of enslavement, genocide, and exploitation. Badass femininity is a one version of a multiplicity of femininities. It re-signifies qualities typically associated with masculinity through women whose work in dance and music move these gender performances from the margins to center stage.