I’ve recently had an abstract accepted for the rather exciting conference, Revisiting the Gaze: Feminism, Fashion and the Female Body. My friend Jacki Willson (author of The Happy Stripper: Pleasures and Politics of the New Burlesque and Being Gorgeous: Feminism, Sexuality and the Pleasures of the Visual) told me about it and suggested it would probably be of interest to me.
My writing tends to be historical in focus (not surprising really, I’m part of the Cinema and Television History Research centre at DMU). I’m repeatedly drawn to American cinema and its (often deeply problematic) representation of women and to how these representations may speak to and about audiences and culture, both at the time of their production and thereafter. Continue reading
Below is a small sample of some of the resources that feature in the #TheyNeverClothed exhibition about the media representation of the women who worked at the Windmill theatre which is due to be taken up to the Hebden Bridge Burlesque Festival at the end of the month.
Simply click on the images below to learn about the resources photographed.
For those who are experiencing the whole exhibition first hand, it is possible to scan the QR codes located next to these particular resources with your phone & learn more about each individual resource that way.
If you are interested in seeing more & actually visiting the exhibition, it will be in the lobby area of Todmorden Hippodrome on the evening of Saturday 29th of April and in the Hebden Bridge Town Hall on Sunday 30th of April.
After this the exhibition will be taken on the road and available for bookings. Its first post-Hebden Bridge outing will be on May 3rd at Eagle (Lincolnshire) Women’s Institute.
If you would like me to bring my pop-up exhibition and a short accompanying talk to your club or venue, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org Continue reading
For the next 48 hours my Bunny Yeager article is available free from Feminist Media Histories as part of their Women’s History Month offer.
N.B. The window for the free download has now expired, anyone who can’t access the paper through their library send me a message.
This Year’s Model: Fashion, Media, and the Making of Glamour
Elizabeth A. Wissinger
New York University Press, New York, 2015, 353 pages, ISBN 978-1-47986477-5
Using the figure of the model, Elizabeth A. Wissinger successfully ‘draw[s] back the curtain to reveal the magical workings of the glamour machine’ (2015: 2) examining the intersection of consumerism, conduct, desire and femininity in Western popular culture.
In her introduction she introduces the notions of ‘glamour labor’, examining the model’s ability to embody and convey ‘affect’ and begins to explore the current value of these two skills across a number of historical moments including the current age, which she argues is notable for its preoccupation with the image and instantaneousness and she terms, borrowing from journalist Malcolm Gladwell, the ‘regime of the blink’.
This month is Women’s History Month and to celebrate, each Tuesday and Thursday throughout the month of March, the journal Feminist Media Histories is making an article from past issues free to download for 48 hours.
image courtesy of James Lynch.
In this podcast, I talk to Heidi Bang Tidy and Lady Wildflower, co-producers of the award-winning Hebden Bridge Burlesque Festival. We discuss the politics of burlesque, the history of the festival and this year’s round table discussion I Am Woman, Hear Me Phwoar featuring Myself, Dr Claire Nally and Dr Jacki Willson (and others tbc) on the Sunday of this year’s festival. I also discuss my broader research and engagement project in more detail.
Me outside The Windmill circa 2010 and a selection of Windmill programmes
For those who aren’t familiar, The Windmill Theatre is a little variety theatre nestled in the heart of Soho, just off Shaftesbury Avenue. It is famous for its nude tableau and fan dancing, its careful negotiation of the respectable middlebrow and for giving first breaks to some of British variety’s most celebrated performers. However the theatre is probably best remembered for its steadfast determination to remain open through the compulsory closure of all London theatres and throughout the Blitz, to provide patriotic, upbeat entertainment for war weary troops and civilians. It was and still is, a British institution. Continue reading
Today was a good day. I spent the evening with my work colleagues and we headed on to Prof Ian Hunter’s book launch for his latest book Cult Film as a Guide to Life where the brave amongst us enjoyed a screening of John Waters’ notorious 1972 cult classic Pink Flamingos. But prior to this I’d had some rather exciting news.
I am thrilled to say that despite tight competition, I found out that I won just over £600 worth of #DMUlocal/#DMUengage funding to cover the cost the exciting Windmill Girls public engagement project I have now entitled #TheyNeverClothed: A Peep at the Women of the Windmill Theatre!
This money certainly will help in terms of covering the cost of putting the actual exhibition together and being able to pay for other aspects of the project and its dissemination.
I was relieved, excited and I must say, rather embarrassed when I discovered I had won, as I found out second-hand, as I had other commitments and couldn’t attend the ceremony! What a lovely surprise though!
I guess it is time to knuckle down and do some proper organising then!
My article on Bunny Yeager, ‘Having her Cheesecake and Eating It’, in the journal Feminist Media Histories is available to download FOR FREE FOR THIS WEEK ONLY!
If you are into retro culture, pin-up photography, feminism and sexploitation cinema, this SHOULD be right up your street.
In this week’s free article download, Ellen Wright writes about the life and work of photographer Bunny Yeager in “Having her Cheesecake and Eating it: Performance, Professionalism and the politics of the Gaze in the Pin-Up Self Portraiture of Bunny Yeager.”
Wright demonstrates how Yeager “embodied a mode of professional and sexual agency that engaged with broader, progressive ideas pertaining to women’s labor and identity circulating in 1960s America as part of feminism’s second wave.”
Free to download from our website for the next 7 days…
So simply hop on over to their page by giving the image above a click and give it a
Oh! And don’t forget to let me know what you thought…
image courtesty of Phyll Smith. Taken at the Slipper Room, NY.
Audiences have always been key to burlesque. Not just in the obvious sense, as the means of financially sustaining the form, but their obvious and vocal presence has been key to the success of many a burlesque act and has very much helped to shape broader perceptions of the form.
Burlesque audiences have historically inspired panic and condemnation because of the sexualised nature of the burlesque form and because of the bad behaviour that it was assumed that this form would inspire or arouse in these audiences, who were often presumed to not know any better. They were too bawdy, too large, too demonstrative. In short they weren’t a polite, middle class audience and this got up some people’s noses.
When burlesque trailblazer Lydia Thompson and her ‘British Blondes’ first appeared at New York’s Wood’s theatre, on September 28th 1868, the novelty of scantily-clad, saucy, subordinate women, who showed their legs, directly challenged the audience and mischievously parodied events and celebrities of the day in the manner of current day British performers such as Abigail Collins or Glory Pearl (AKA The Naked Standup), she attracted considerable critical acclaim and a large, respectable, middle class audience. However, this audience, always hungry for the latest sensation, eventually became bored. Thompson and her Blondes ultimately became a source of vilification and moral speculation and the ‘leg show,’ as burlesque had come to be known, lost its cultural cachet, becoming increasingly associated with working class audiences, in less prestigious theatres and in less prominent and salubrious parts of American cities. Continue reading