Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription or Fee Access

St. Janet’s Mask: Sex and the Performing Female

Abimbola Adunni Adelakun


Women performers who use sex and obscenity in their material usually have to contend with the society and its social mores in a way men do not. St. Janet’s, a popular cabaret singer, offers a way of understanding how a woman can simultaneously perform obscenity and respectability. For a female performer who has to not only negotiate the business aspects of performance acts, but also navigate a (pseudo) religious public and postcolonial cultural traditions that try to stifle women’s expression of sexual agency, the idea of “Saint” in St. Janet is a way of deflecting the scopophilic gaze on her female body. The sainthood is not the only way she disrupts the line of vision that would have been fixed on her body as a woman performing vulgarity.


Female Performer; Obscenity; Respectability; Gaze; Sainthood

Full Text:


JENdA: A Journal of Culture and African Women Studies. ISSN: 1530-5686 (online).
Editors: Nkiru Nzegwu; Book Editor: Mary Dillard.

Published by Africa Resource Center, Inc. All inquiries about rights, permissions, reprints and license should be directed to AfricaResource.

Copyright © Africa Resource Center, Inc., 1999 - .