Consuls, consorts or courtesans? 'Singapore Girls' between the nation and the world

Obendorf, Simon (2014) Consuls, consorts or courtesans? 'Singapore Girls' between the nation and the world. In: Women and the politics of representation in Southeast Asia: engendering discourse in Singapore and Malaysia. Research on Gender in Asia . Routledge. ISBN 9781138786479

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This chapter examines the brand persona of the "Singapore Girl" created to market the services of Singapore's state-owned airline. It examines the differences – and crucially, the similarities - between the globally circulating knowledges that surround the figure of the Singapore Girl, and the political, social and domestic contours of gender politics within Singapore itself. The Singapore Girl figure illuminates how feminine subjectivities have been shaped within and for the postcolonial nation-state. I argue here that this process is never purely domestic; the state’s preoccupation with conscripting women’s bodies, labour and identities into the service of meeting national goals and objectives is always conducted with reference to broader international considerations. It is this dual influence of international processes and national gender politics that has, for a large number of Singapore women, worked to circumscribe political activity and reinforce essentialist understandings of gendered behaviour. Reading the Singapore Girl enables us to see how gender politics in Singapore are shaped by the flows of global exchange and through their positioning within specifically Singaporean relations of power.

Keywords:Singapore, Singapore Airlines, Southeast Asia, airlines, women, feminism, postcolonial, Singapore Girl
Subjects:L Social studies > L243 Politics of a specific country/region
L Social studies > L200 Politics
L Social studies > L712 Human and Social Geography of Asia
L Social studies > L320 Gender studies
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Social & Political Sciences
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ID Code:5967
Deposited On:13 Jul 2012 13:18

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