Bikinis and Other S/Pacific N/Oceans

Citation:

Teaiwa, Teresia K. 2010. “Bikinis and Other S/Pacific N/Oceans.” In Militarized Currents: Toward a Decolonized Future in Asia and the Pacific, edited by Setsu Shigematsu and Keith L. Camacho, 15–32. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Keywords: bikini, nuclear power, Pacific Islanders, Bikini Atoll, Marshall Islands, feminization, sexualization, colonialism, female body, nuclear testing

Annotation:

Summary:

This chapter suggests that the bikini bathing suit manifests both a celebration and a forgetting of the nuclear power that strategically and materially marginalizes and erases the living history of Pacific Islanders. By analyzing militarist, nuclear, and touristic discourses on Bikini Atoll, Marshall Islands, it demonstrates the feminization and sexualization of nuclear colonialism while elaborating how empires have been engendered through the deformation and violation of Pacific Islander bodies. It describes the bikini bathing suit as a testament to the recurring tourist trivialization of Pacific Islanders’ experience and existence. By drawing attention to a sexualized and supposedly depoliticized female body, the bikini distracts from the colonial and highly political origins of its name. The sexist dynamic the bikini performs—objectification through excessive visibility—inverts the colonial dynamics that have occurred during nuclear testing in the Pacific, that is, objectification by rendering invisible. (Summary from Publisher)

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Gender, Femininity/ies, Weapons /Arms, Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Regions: Americas, North America, Oceania Countries: Marshall Islands, United States of America

Year: 2010

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