Challenging the Beach as Paradise in Fiction and Memoir: The Gold Coast’s Bathing Beauties
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The image of a beach-going woman across Gold Coast media and advertising is one that invites the male and tourist gaze to admire her as part of the landscape. While literary fiction and memoir set on the Gold Coast acknowledge that the city is mythologised as a bridge to heaven, the gendered aspects of this representation are rarely touched upon. This chapter finds female-identifying characters aware of, and rejecting, the local spectacle of the ‘bathing beauty’. Instead of paradise, female characters perceive the ocean as a site for literal death and metaphorical rebirth, thus revealing that, for women in literature, Gold Coast beaches and connecting rivers are not features of paradise, but instead represent insecure sanctuary from men and other dangers.
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