Music Matters XX Lecture by Dr. Katharina Rost (University of Bayreuth)

The Department of Arts, Culture and Media and ICOG invites you to the second Music Matters XX Concert and Lecture Series of 2018 on Friday March 23th.

At 16:00 we host Dr. Katharina Rost (University of Bayreuth) in a guest lecture on the topic of

Dandies and Rebels: Female Masculinity in Pop Music

For more info about the lecture:

Time: 16:00
Place. Room A900 (Academy Building, Broerstraat 5, Groningen. Separate building)

Free of admission – No registration required


In pop music, many artists have played with stereotypical gender roles. Especially since the 80s with singers like Grace Jones, David Bowie, Boy George and Annie Lennox, androgynous looks have become popular in this context, but they’ve also always been controversial. Today, pop artists like Janelle Monáe, Lady Gaga, Pink, Robyn, La Roux, and others present themselves in various ways, employing subcultural practices like drag or aesthetics like camp, reviving historically, literally or pop-culturally shaped figures like the dandy or the rebel. In my presentation, I will focus on these diverse female masculinities in pop music and demonstrate in detail which figures are evoked in what ways – as the artists have individual styles and different cultural backgrounds, their presentations vary immensely. Fashion, body poses, facial expressions, accessories all become important in this configuration of a star image/persona. In my opinion, the artists therewith embody different ways of being female and they embrace masculinity as a performative aspect of their “own identity” (as a construct, not a given, essential entity). Being female and possessing masculine traits thus does not mean a contrast, but a possibility. Jack Halberstam has coined the term “female masculinity” already in 1998, but since then, research on it in the context of Masculinity Studies has only been of minor interest so far. The majority of publications on masculinity tend to focus on the masculinity of (biologically) male bodies and tend to neglect the embodiment of masculinity through female, queer and transgender bodies. Pop music as a very creative and powerful area can be a domain in which this dimension is highlighted through the creation of non-conforming, incoherent identities as “rhizomatic” networks that are multiple, complex and highly referential of cultural figures and meanings.


Katharina Rost is affiliated with the Theatre Department of the University of Bayreuth, working on her postdoc research project on gender performance in popular music/culture. Recent articles focus on the gender performances, voices and images of pop singers, i.e. on Janelle Monáe, La Roux, Pink, Robyn, Sam Smith, and Anohni. She has graduated in Theatre Studies, Philosophy, and New German Literature at the Freie Universität Berlin (FU) and worked at the FU Department for Theatre Studies as a research assistant from 2008 to 2016. Since 2017, Rost is receiving a three-year postdoc scholarship at the University of Bayreuth. In 2017, her PhD thesis “Sounds that matter. On the dynamics of listening in Contemporary Theatre and Performance” has appeared as a book by Transcript. Her research topics include gender and queer theory, contemporary theatre aesthetics, sound design and listening, attention, affect studies, and the theatricality of fashion and pop.