Hypersexual city: the provocation of soft-core urbanism

2017-01-23T23:58:57Z (GMT) by Kalms, Nicole
The circulation of hypersexualised representations coupled with the post-feminist rhetoric of sexual empowerment play an important role in shaping urban space in late capitalist cities. While feminists and cultural theorists have raised questions about whether hypersexuality is liberating for young women or, alternatively, a marketing mask requiring women to conform to a diminished and objectified position, critical discussions about the effects of hypersexuality have yet to extend to the fields of architecture and urbanism. In Hypersexual City: The Provocation of Soft-Core Urbanism, interactions taking place within hypersexualised contexts are viewed as both a cause and a consequence of gender inequality. Positioned precariously at a time when sexual violence towards women has become a key agenda for social politics in Australia and other countries around the world, these issues have developed new urgency. The recent proliferation of hypersexuality in architecture and urban space has made it imperative to explore how these forms assist in the normalisation, even glorification, of hypersexual representations and the sexual objectification of women. By examining a variety of case studies using a combination of theoretical, historical and visual analyses as well as feminist theory and analytical drawings, the thesis demonstrates how the hypersexualisation of architecture and urban space is taking place in subtle yet compelling ways, with important implications for social relations, self-perceptions and perceptions of others. The current approach to regulating controversial images and sites is insufficient in both understanding and managing hypersexuality in late capitalist cities. In contrast, I propose that there is a pressing need for more assertive and objective regulation and controls.

Awards: Winner of the Mollie Holman Doctoral Medal for Excellence, Faculty of Art Design & Architecture, 2016.