Forget Madonna: the many metamorphoses of Kylie Minogue, showgirl and survivor
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Universidad de Cádiz
Kylie MinogueMadonnaPop musicFemininityGender studies
Rodríguez-Salas, G.; Martín-Alegre, S. Forget Madonna: the many metamorphoses of Kylie Minogue, showgirl and survivor. En: Galán Moya, R. (ed.) Proceedings from the 33rd Annual Conference of the Spanish Association for Angloamerican Studies. Cádiz: Universidad de Cádiz, 2010. pp. 157-165. [http://hdl.handle.net/10481/24900]
American pop star Madonna is the female performer that has received more academic attention within Cultural Studies in the last twenty years. The main issue discussed in relation to her is whether her very successful, provocative, phallic persona —the embodiment of her rigid control over her own career— presents a valid alternative to stereotyped femininity. In contrast, Australian pop princess Kylie Minogue —whose music career already spans 20 years— has been practically ignored by academia due to the generalised perception that she represents precisely the kind of bland femininity that Madonna challenges. This paper argues from a Cultural Studies perspective that, far from being easy to dismiss, Kylie Minogue is a relevant female performer whose public persona is also connected to pertinent gender issues. It is our belief that the insistence on finding subversive alternatives to traditional femininity —as represented by Madonna— has negatively affected the understanding of femininity itself. Minogue proves with her sustained career and professionalism that femininity does not necessarily have to be phallic in order to be successful and that it is too often unfairly identified with weakness. We argue this thesis by analysing Showgirl, the tour that Minogue had to interrupt due to the breast cancer she was diagnosed with in 2005, and the revised version of this tour after her cancer recovery in 2007, Showgirl Homecoming, together with White Diamond (2007), the documentary on the impact of her illness on the show. In them Minogue comes across as a committed, metamorphic artist and as a tough survivor with much to offer as a role model to women who wish to be both professionally successful and feminine.