Naked Feminine Physicality as an Invented Tradition in South Asian Popular Culture
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South Asia
British India
Female Body
Popular Culture
Beauty Pageants
Invention of Traditions

How to Cite

Kyrchanoff, M. (2022). Naked Feminine Physicality as an Invented Tradition in South Asian Popular Culture. Corpus Mundi, 3(1), 73-122.


The author analyses the problems of changes in the representation of the body and the metamorphosis of corporality in South Asia in colonial and postcolonial contexts. Methodologically, the author uses the ideas proposed in interdisciplinary studies of nationalism, combining them with the achievements of the visual turn. It is assumed that, on the one hand, the cultures of the region were able to form their own unique traditions of perceiving naked feminine corporality. On the other hand, the article shows how British colonialism changed these ideas, promoting a moderate Westernisation of cultural spaces, including the idea of ​​naked feminine corporality. The author analyses the role of Hinduism as one of the factors that significantly influenced the development of ideas about corporality. The author analyses the problems of mass culture as the main space for the disclosure of images of the body and physicality in the modern consumer society. The article analyses the role of “high” and “low” culture in the development of collective ideas about the body. The author analyses how the perception of nudity changed under the conditions of post-colonialism in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. It is assumed that the Indian model of the imagination of corporality and its perception in the discourses of mass culture claims the status of a universal paradigm that significantly affects the perception of corporality in the cultures of neighbouring states. The author analyses how intellectuals used forms of physicality in their attempts to visualise ethnic and cultural identities, emphasising and actualising, on the one hand, the differences of their own ethnicities from the identities of neighbouring nations. On the other hand, the author believes this trend is archaic, transitional and temporary, since the modern mass cultures of South Asia tend to assimilate local cultural and ethnic traditions. Therefore, the article shows that traditional ethnicity in visualisation of body turned into one more strategy used for attracting attention. The author analyses some cultural phenomena as invented traditions of mass culture. Therefore, spaces and forms of visualisation and actualisation of naked feminine corporality, including films, posters, comics, beauty contests are perceived as a visual type of invented traditions that legitimise the identity of the consumer society and mass culture.
pdf (Русский)


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