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Volume 22 Issue 3 (May 2015), Pages 197-307

Nightlife Girls: Envy, Theatre, and Encounters with Men and Women (pages 197-210)

This article explores how envy influences affective performance in the service industry. Utilizing the first‐person accounts of 12 women working in one Manhattan bar, it examines how the experiences these women have with male and female customers are differently intersected by expectations for gendered performance. It further explores how envy — as the emotion most prompted in the servers in the face of these expectations — can in response be harnessed as a force for their critical agency. Seeing envy as both an antagonizer and central defence mechanism, the paper goes on to dissect the various strategies employed by the serving women to both adopt the differing embodiments of affective gender performance expected by their male and female customers, and protect themselves from the emotional damage that is risked in adopting such externally dictated subjectivities.

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