University College London
Changing gender performances and Femininity Ideals Among Polish Female Migrants in London and NZ/Aotearoa: An intersectional perspective
This paper is based on data collected as part of my PhD research on the performance of gender, class and ethnicity of Polish woman in different cultural settings. This presentation is based on 62 in-depth interviews with Polish women living in London and New Zealand, and discusses the different gender roles, ideals and expectations they face when living abroad. I will discuss my respondents’ notions of what it means to be a typical Polish woman, and how she can be recognized by her looks and behaviour by other Poles and non-Poles. I also ask my respondents about gender relations in their families (discussing the traditional roles of the Polish mother and grandmother), and their current relationships with their Polish and non-Polish partners. As my research is theorized within an intersectionality model, Butler’s theory of performativity and Goffman’s dramaturgical approach to self-presentation I will focus on performance change in my respondents brought on by different gender expectations, in a context of their different social locations as women, Poles and migrants in both the UK and NZ. Most importantly, my presentation is aimed at describing the contextual nature of performance of gender in changing geographical, cultural, and social settings, and the way these intersect with ethnic and class identities and migrant status.