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I follow Dr Lauren Elkin on Instagram and she posted a pic of this Tweet by Tracey Thorn about her (Lauren Elkin’s) book. The fact that it’s Tracey Thorn is neither here nor there and I doubt people who are not around the same age as myself & Dr Elkin will even know who she is! But I do, and this is pretty cool.

This particular bit did have me thinking about identity, the concept of blending and disappearing. One of the hallmarks of the flâneur is this idea of “blending in” and disappearing with the crowd. Thinking about this, along with another post I wrote about possession and belonging, I thought about the different goals or ideas of the white, male flâneur as opposed to a woman or an “immigrant/refugee”. I cannot speak for the latter groups of people, but through my studies I’ve viewed the concept of “identity” differently.  I don’t think that the white, male flâneur has to think too much about his identity as it’s rarely challenged. I think that in some ways, being able to “disappear” into a crowd still affords them the opportunity to feel a sense of ownership (as I spoke about in the previous post on possession.) I think they can “reappear” and stake their claim at any time.

As a woman, blending into a crowd is more about safety. If a woman blends, if no one notices her, she’s less likely to be harassed, judged, etc. What about this “dressing as a man” as Tracey Thorn brings up from Lauren Elkins book? This isn’t something I’ve tried, but I’m curious to do so. There’s something to be said for the concept of dressing as a man pass by unnoticed, un-judged.

What about the varying degrees of disguise? As a white woman, I could dress up as a white man. What about someone with noticeably darker skin? An accent that’s associated with an Arab country?


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