Performing the Filipina “Mail-Order Bride”: Queer Neoliberalism, Affective Labor, and Homonationalism

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Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies


The 2005 video/performance art piece, Always a Bridesmaid, Never a Bride, by the Filipina American performance-art ensemble, the Mail Order Brides, examines the role of affective labor in constituting gay marriage as a form of US homonational belonging. In a contemporary context of capitalist globalization, Always a Bridesmaid, Never a Bride critiques the subjugation of the third-world woman worker within a queer neoliberal logic, highlighting the inability of the mainstream US LGBT movement to address issues of race, migration, and labor. The Mail Order Brides enact forms of feminist camp and ethnic drag to denaturalize the affective labor that is embodied within the figure of the Filipina “mail-order bride.” In doing so, Always a Bridesmaid, Never a Bride links an analysis of transnational Filipina labor with a critique of queer cultural politics in the US In its critique of queer neoliberalism, Always a Bridesmaid, Never a Bride builds on and contributes to queer of color social movements committed to racial and economic justice.





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This article is also available on the publisher's website: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/0740770X.2013.849064

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