Image of the female body in the Armenian cultural space

Brigitta Davidjants

The present article looks at the image of the female body in the Armenian cultural space, more specifically the images of female bodies created in popular culture and their position in the social power system. Similarly to many contemporary societies, Armenia sees itself as a borderland. The border can be defined in different ways: geographically, politically, linguistically, culturally, etc. A widespread narrative in Armenia places it in the East geographically and in the West culturally, because of Christianity. Such divided identity creation can be seen in different spheres, from daily media to history writing. Armenians are characterized by the desire to distance themselves from their Islamic neighbors and to place themselves culturally in the West. However, they have adopted only some visual attributes of Westernness and in their mentality Armenians still belong to the Middle-Eastern cultural space, which associates women with the private sphere, primarily with the reproduction of the nation and the preservation of traditions. The present article illustrates the problem with an analysis of the representation of women in Armenian Eurovision song contest videos. Eurovision is considered an event of national importance since it gives an opportunity to present a desired image to Europe while reaffirming national identity and the related gender roles. The analysis confirms the hypothesis that the Armenian woman is in the service of the nation, simultaneously representing maternity and Armenianness on the one hand and femininity and Europeanness on the other.