Mobility, white bodies and desire: Euro-American women in Jakarta

Fechter, Anne-Meike (2016) Mobility, white bodies and desire: Euro-American women in Jakarta. The Australian Journal of Anthropology, 27 (1). pp. 66-83. ISSN 1035-8811

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This paper illustrates how cultural logics of desire are being transformed in the context of the global economy refashioning intimate lives. Exploring the experiences of Euro-American female professionals in Jakarta, it suggests that they become uncomfortably visible as ‘white bodies’; their desirability appears compromised, especially given Orientalist discourses which valorise Asian women's bodies. At the same time, women's position as well-paid employees generates a contradictory logic of desire: the ‘ego-boost’ they experience at work may intensify their demands on the masculinity and enlightened views of potential partners, thus rendering Indonesian men, with their perceived bodily effeminacy and ‘traditional values’ unattractive. As one response to the lack of desirability, some women engage in a moral discourse that casts Indonesian women whom they consider ‘bargirls’, as well as the Euro-American men they attract, as morally deficient. The paper thus provides an alternative perspective on reconfigurations of desire in the context of global gendered mobility.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: mobility; desire; race; bodies; whiteness; expatriates; Indonesia
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Anthropology
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation
H Social Sciences
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Depositing User: Medeni Fordham
Date Deposited: 01 Jul 2015 13:46
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2019 21:20

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