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Material Girls: Humor and Female Professional Seduction in Greek Literature and Culture
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Humlab.
2014 (English)In: Eugesta: Journal of Gender Studies in Antiquity, ISSN 2156-2253, Vol. 4Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Current scholarship typically views the ancient Greek prostitute/ courtesan figure as an artificially manipulated, sexualized body motivated by material profit. By examining fragments of Middle Comedy and their echoes in post-classical antiquity, this article proposes an alternative view of courtesans and prostitutes as professionals of emotional labor. Through narrative analysis, I show that the Greek comic portrayal of courtesans is multifaceted and not sufficiently illuminated by discussions of their subjectivity, aesthetic modifications, and greed but also extends to the realm of their emotions. Intersecting gender and humor theories with the concept of Emotional Labor (Hochschild 1983), I then argue that these figures can be seen to comically modify their appearance and behavior in order to reflect contemporary ideological and cultural standards of female sexual conduct. Viewing humor as a communicative tool for social hierarchies consequently facilitates a more complex analysis of attitudes towards the commercialization of bodies and emotions in Greek literature and culture.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Lille, France: Lille Université , 2014. Vol. 4
Keyword [en]
Prostitutes/courtesans, Gender, Humor, Greek literature and culture, Emotional Labor, Social Affect Theory.
National Category
Humanities Classical Archaeology and Ancient History Cultural Studies Other Social Sciences
Research subject
Classical Archaeology and Ancient History; genusvetenskap
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-93021OAI: diva2:745263
Cultural History of Emotions in Premodernity
Available from: 2014-09-10 Created: 2014-09-10 Last updated: 2014-09-29Bibliographically approved

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