Denaturalizing Coco’s “Sexy” Hips

Chih-Chieh Liu

in The Oxford Handbook of Dance and the Popular Screen

Published in print August 2014 | ISBN: 9780199897827
Published online October 2014 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Music

Denaturalizing Coco’s “Sexy” Hips

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This chapter, starting from a seemingly standardized dance promotion in Mandarin pop, one of the dominant music genres in East Asia, attempts to reveal the cultural logics and to denaturalize the corporeal discourses behind what is commonly perceived as the “naturally” spectacular hip movement of a Chinese-American superstar, Coco Lee, whose dance is, in Taiwan, often linked with the idea of “sexiness” and “American-ness.” Calling upon Judith Butler’s idea of performativity (1990) in tandem with Richard Dyer’s notion of star image (1979) and the concept of the dancing body (Thomas 1995; Foster 1996), this chapter, using music video analysis (Vernallis 2004; Beebe and Middleton 2007), delineates Coco’s Hip Hop Tonight (2006) to point out the contradictions and reversals of the body in contemporary multimedial context in that “sexiness” is desexualized, “American-ness” is Sinocized, and the meaning of “Chinese-ness” continues to shift according to local cultural and political sensibilities. In this process, music video becomes an intersecting point in which cultural boundaries negotiate and body politics fight to gain the upper hand, revealing a web of complex power struggles in Taiwan where meaning of the body is locally produced yet globally contested.

Keywords: dancing body; music video; cultural identity; body politics; Chinese-ness; American-ness

Article.  8337 words. 

Subjects: Music ; Dance

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