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Title: Female sexuality, taste and respectability : an analysis of transatlantic media discourse surrounding Hollywood glamour and film star pin-ups during WWII
Author: Wright, Ellen
ISNI:       0000 0004 5367 0008
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis examines the cultural politics surrounding public femininity in Britain and the United States between 1939 and 1949 in relation to glamour and the figure of the film star pin-up. Using Betty Grable and Rita Hayworth – the era’s most popular Hollywood pin-ups - as its case studies, the study reveals the issues of taste, class, national identity, modernity and propriety which informed the wider reception of the film star pin-up in wartime Britain and America. A range of primary sources including magazine and newspaper articles, trade publications, promotional materials and advertising tie-ups, as well as contemporaneous surveys of public opinion which engage with these stars and with pin-up and with glamour are discussed with a view to exposing the varied and nuanced discourse surrounding female sexuality in circulation in Britain during this era and exploring the translation, understanding and acceptance of American mores when such products are imported into differing cultural contexts. Informed by Bourdieu’s theorisations surrounding taste and cultural capital, Skeggs’ work on glamour and working class respectability, Buszek’s discussion of pin-up and sexual agency, Moseley’s notion of resonance and Dyer’s work upon star personas this study elaborates upon existing discussions (from the 1930s up to the current day) regarding Hollywood’s female representations at large and the Hollywood pin-up in particular as either objectifying and oppressing its female subjects and audiences within a wider discourse of patriotic ‘beauty as duty’ or offering a potentially radical and empowering form of female sexual agency. This study therefore forms part of a wider reassessment of the film star pin-up and Hollywood glamour at large and of two popular Hollywood stars in particular, whilst contributing to revisionist histories of British and American women in the Modern era, of the study of class and taste, of transatlantic cinema audiences in the Second World War more generally.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available