Discuss the idea of the flaneuse as an image of contemporary urban femininity.

Essay by tinyjazUniversity, Bachelor'sB, October 2005

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The relationship between women and the cities has been fraught with complexity; throughout the past couple of centuries, this highly debatable correlation is deemed problematic for many feminists and theorists. In particular, the conceptualization and evolution of the flaneuse from the flaneur has not yet been reconciled to this postmodern day. In this essay, we seek to examine the plausibility of the flaneuse in this contemporary era; with specific reference to HBO's comedy series, "Sex and the City", which often tackled socially relevant issues such as the status of women in society. Distinctively, the notion of the flaneuse will be illustrated by the main character, Carrie Bradshaw.

Elizabeth Wilson (2001:75) examined that the flaneur is a key figure in the critical literature of modernity and urbanization. The term flaneur was defined in the Nineteen-Century Encyclopedia Laroussse as "a loiterer, a fritterer away of time, associated with the new urban pastimes of shopping and crowd watching."

It is suggested that he belonged to the general city, the metropolis, since the suburban would be too restrictive for his sauntering and too constricted a field for his observations. The flaneur then became an iconic and popular figure in Paris by the mid-nineteen century (Wilson 2001:75). Charles Baudelaire further took up this gallivating icon in his essay 'The painter of modern life', advocating the flaneur and his position within the Parisian society. In essence, the flaneur of the modernity was a man who derived gratification from the urban spectacle, he take pleasure in wandering freely, fascinated yet detached, through the city streets. He was the possessor of the gaze, objectifying the inhabitants of the city, observing their activities and appearance for his own pleasure (Richards 2003:150).

There were much emphasis that the flaneur of the modern era had an uncertain existence contained by...