Tigers of a Different Stripe
Performing Gender in Dominican Music
Drawing on over a decade of fieldwork in the Dominican Republic and New York among musicians, fans, and patrons of merengue típico—not to mention her own experiences as a female instrumentalist—Hutchinson details a complex nexus of class, race, and artistic tradition that unsettles the typical binary between the masculine and feminine. She sketches the portrait of the classic male figure of the tíguere, a dandified but sexually aggressive and street-smart “tiger,” and she shows how female musicians have developed a feminine counterpart: the tíguera, an assertive, sensual, and respected female figure who looks like a woman but often plays and even sings like a man. Through these musical figures and studies of both straight and queer performers, she unveils rich ambiguities in gender construction in the Dominican Republic and the long history of a unique form of Caribbean feminism.