Sex and Witchcraft: Performing and Transforming the Gendered Body

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 4:15 PM
Room: Harbor Lounge B
Oral Presentation
Douglas EZZY , University of Tasmania, Australia
Eighty people dance naked around a large bonfire during an all night ritual at Faunalia, a Pagan festival in Australia.  This paper examines how these ritual performances transform embodied forms of gender inequality for women and men.  Women with poor body image find self confidence and pleasure in their somatic performance.   Men discover new ways of relating to the feminine sides of themselves.  Both men and women explore same-sex interactions, such as kissing someone of the same gender, and as a consequence become more comfortable with homoerotic desire.  The paper argues that many forms of gender inequality are located in emotional and somatic self-understandings and that ritual performances allow these to be countered and transformed.