‘A pair of buttocks’ that everybody hates

radical rudeness as a resistance strategy


  • Busi Makoni Pennsylvania State University




radical rudeness, rage, insurgent nakedness, naked agency, cosmological power


This article explores radical rudeness, a resistance strategy of deliberate rudeness to disrupt normative structures. Using the Uganda activist Dr Stella Nyanzi as a case study, I examine how women experiencing extreme structural marginalisation and systemic violence use radical rudeness in a nonlinguistic form (defiant disrobing) to speak back to power. Drawing from Black feminist theories of rage, I argue that radical rudeness is an instance of rage, not as a pernicious emotion, but as a legitimate strategy against patriarchy and dictatorial authoritarianism. I argue that Dr Stella Nyanzi’s naked protest utilises three intersecting forms of power – biopower, symbolic power and cosmological power – to resist the authoritarian Ugandan regime, turning her naked body into a powerful weapon of resistance.

Author Biography

Busi Makoni, Pennsylvania State University

Busi Makoni is a sociolinguist interested in the intersection between language, race, gender, law and sexuality in Africa. Her research broadly focuses on language and social justice in areas such as immigrant language practices in contexts characterised by quotidian violence, use of gendered language varieties in courtroom settings and the exploitation of women who use such varieties during court proceedings. She serves on the editorial boards of the journals Language in Society and Language Policy.


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How to Cite

Makoni, B. . (2021). ‘A pair of buttocks’ that everybody hates: radical rudeness as a resistance strategy. Gender and Language, 15(4), 549–558. https://doi.org/10.1558/genl.21522



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