Dancing politics : connecting women's experiences of rave in Toronto to ageism and patriarchy
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Based on a critical analysis of recent Canadian and British media, academic, and political representations of rave, in conjunction with the author's and ten female interviewees' past experiences as active rave participants, the purpose of this thesis is to show the ways that rave can be understood as political. Drawing on a post-structural understanding of politics, which understands macro social issues and micro personal experiences as intimately linked and inseparable, this thesis fills a gap in the existing rave literature by explicitly drawing out (a) the ways that active rave participation is entangled in dominant understandings of age and gender-appropriate activities, and (b) the implications that these entanglements have on the ways that some women experience and construct their past active rave participation. Specifically, the author examines the ways that age and gender intersect and inform the discourses on which research participants drew to describe and rationalize their experiences of becoming, being, and ceasing to be active rave participants in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. At the same time that the majority of research participants' introductions to rave followed heterosexualized and heternormative patterns, they also constructed active rave participation as a way to challenge popular representations of rave as an inappropriate activity, especially for young women. When rationalizing the cessation of their active rave participation, however, these women reproduced depictions of rave participation as a transitory and juvenile phase where older women are particularly misplaced. The various ways that these women simultaneously challenged, experienced, and facilitated dominant ageist and patriarchal discourses about who does and does belong in rave are interpreted as evidence that micro rave experiences cannot be divorced from macro discriminatory discourses, and that "the personal is political."