Feminine Identity between the East and the West
Said’s notion of Orientalism has been crucial in describing the attitudes of the West towards an objectified racial and ethnological East, but identities in the Meditteranean have never fully complied to the model since its inhabitants have often been able to both adopt and be critical of its practices. When the conscious examination of the practices and cultural heritage of the East and the West is coupled with concerns of gender, it throws into relief the past and present of the position of women in the European periphery.
This paper examines how Greek women reflect upon the past and present of their affiliation to the East and the West. With reference to the works of contemporary female artists, it is shown that feminine identity implies an ongoing assimilation of easter and western features and masculine practices on the background of an irreducible alterity and difference from both. This double alterity allows women to assume a reflexive distance and always eschew choice or taking sides. It summs up the pure reflexive function which makes difference the most stable characteritic of feminine identity and proposes the latter the ideal candidate for a modern and trully transnational identity.
Keywords: Orientalism, Mediterranean, Gender, Art
Dr Angie Voela
Kings College London / University of East London
Ass. Prof. Evangelia Sampanikou
Assistant Professor, Department of Cultural Technology and Communication, University of the Aegean