“Wanna hear my voice, look at my feet!” How Female Sneaker Aficionadas Negotiate their Femininities and Identities Within a Male-centric Subculture.

Lindsay-Prince, Lemara (2013) “Wanna hear my voice, look at my feet!” How Female Sneaker Aficionadas Negotiate their Femininities and Identities Within a Male-centric Subculture. Masters thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Abstract

This dissertation is a feminist inquiry into sneaker culture, using the qualitative method of
ethnography to study a community of female sneaker collectors. These women exist in a
predominantly male-centric subculture which entails buying, collecting and trading pairs of
sneakers. The women or ‘aficionadas’ that exist in this subculture are often excluded, and often their
participation and presence is rendered invisible. They constantly defend their identity, femininity
and place in the subculture from negative stereotypes. They are denied the authenticity of being a
true connoisseur, as well as their aficionada status. However, aficionadas manage to resist their
invisibility as well as the assumptions made against them by enacting their agency and negotiating
their femininity and identity, through a bricolage of masculinity and femininity. Sneakers rose to
significance during the explosive and expressive Hip-hop movement in New York City during the
late 1970s. It was a movement that promoted creative self-expression and influenced everything in
its way such as dancing, music, sport and even fashion. Within these predominantly male spaces,
male performances and exhibitions of masculinity were fostered. Moreover, the sneaker emerged as
an object with significant importance to the wearer. As well as enhancing movement and
performance of the wearer, it was also used as a signifier for street style. Its rising popularity
amongst African American and Latino American youth transformed its intended use, from an object
primarily used for function, to one used solely for fashion. The subculture that rose from the
obsession was largely male as a large number of male experiences became connected to the lifestyle
of sneaker culture. A gender division exists in sneaker culture that privileges the voice and
experience of self-appointed male aficionados over female aficionadas. However, the aficionada
community I interviewed aim to change this through their bricolaged identity as played out through
their consumption and identities.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of American Studies
Depositing User: Mia Reeves
Date Deposited: 13 Jun 2014 09:20
Last Modified: 13 Jun 2014 09:20
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/48794
DOI:

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