This research paper is about the concept of flâneur and investigates if there could be a female version of it and whether it could be recognizable and easily approachable. It examines what it means today to be a flâneuse in the urban environment of a city and if capitalism and the socially constructed norms allow to “wander without fear” on the streets of Athens.
Starting with Baudelaire, we outline the figure of the man flâneur in 19th century Paris. According to Benjamin, the flâneur transcends the limits of a real person and becomes a conceptual tool.
In the second chapter we examine the concept of the woman in the context of the second and third feminist wave. From Simon de Beauvoir and her known phrase “One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman” to Judith Butler and the construction of the social sex and the contemporary identity politics, we explore how we define, or if we can indeed define, the concept of woman.
Based on works of various feminists we question whether women and men perceive the urban fabric and move around within it with the same prerogatives and the same convenience. Does the controversy between public and private space derive from the informal distribution of roles which in the past had the female figure inseparable from the private space of the home, while the male figure from the urban fabric of the city?
To continue, we investigate the female dimension of flaneur, the flaneur of the 19th century, through the critical analysis of four feminist women. We examine the extensions of the meanings flâneur/flâneuse/flânerie, mainly in the context of the formation and the composition of the public and private sphere in the urban landscape.
In the last part of this research paper, I recount personal experiences and events which took place last year in the city of Athens, depicted in the form of a novel, through the eyes of a modern imaginary heroine, Silva.