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9 The Woman’S Picture Of The 1930s


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9 The Woman’S Picture Of The 1930s

  1. 1. THE ‘WOMAN’S’ PICTURE OF THE 1930s Vanguard of Feminism or Cynical Marketing Ploy?
  2. 2. POST WW1 THE BIRTH OF THE MODERN WORLD? <ul><li>A) Technology Advance </li></ul><ul><li>B) Changing Nature of Employment </li></ul><ul><li>C) Changing Economic Situation </li></ul><ul><li>Three Great Haute Couture designers, </li></ul>
  3. 3. Vionnet
  4. 4. Schiaparelli
  5. 5. Chanel
  6. 6. But to the NEW WOMAN this designer probably had more influence than anybody . ADRIAN ADOLPH GREENBURG
  7. 7. TRADITIONAL VIEW OF 1930s Bill Brandt (Wigan) Dorethea Lange (Migrant Mother)
  8. 8. But! The Rise of the New Consumer Society <ul><li>The 1930s House with ‘mod cons’ </li></ul><ul><li>The Automobile (USA v GB) </li></ul><ul><li>Rayon (artificial silk) </li></ul><ul><li>The Electric Iron of all things </li></ul><ul><li>Electric Lighting </li></ul><ul><li>Aviation </li></ul><ul><li>Ready to Wear (The man’s suit) </li></ul>
  9. 9. MOVIE TECHNOLOGY <ul><li>The ‘Talkies’ (The Jazz Singer 1928) </li></ul><ul><li>Make-Up (It will be clear – honest) </li></ul><ul><li>Panchromatic film </li></ul><ul><li>Art Deco Style </li></ul><ul><li>ODEON (Andre Deutsh Entertains Our Nation) 76 openings between 1936-1939 </li></ul>
  10. 10. BUT MOST IMPORTANT IN BRITAIN AND LATER IN USA <ul><li>Not the countryside: but look at that pylon </li></ul><ul><li>National Grid 1926 </li></ul><ul><li>TVA </li></ul><ul><li>RURAL ELECTRIFICATION </li></ul>
  11. 11. One view of Interwar Britain Vionnet Debutant 1938 (Look at that Make-Up)
  12. 12. AND THE USA
  13. 13. However the Reality for Many Married Women Seattle Hooverville Stepney 1937
  14. 14. In Britain A Poverty That Will be Shown up by War <ul><li>After Female conscription into the armed forces after 1940 the authorities were horrified by the poverty and hygiene standards of many recruits. </li></ul><ul><li>Hygiene Classes </li></ul><ul><li>Underwear </li></ul><ul><li>Feminine Hygiene </li></ul>
  15. 15. The Grapes of Wrath in the USA <ul><li>Deepening Depression </li></ul><ul><li>But now can make much more than can be consumed. Era of Mass Production </li></ul><ul><li>Huge emphasis on raising demand for goods and consumption </li></ul>
  16. 16. What the heck has this to do with the movies? <ul><li>Economic and Social Surveys showed. </li></ul><ul><li>A) Women 70% of all Cinema Audiences </li></ul><ul><li>B) Women attended twice per week </li></ul><ul><li>C) Married women made 90% of household purchasing decisions </li></ul><ul><li>D) Single women an untapped resource </li></ul>
  17. 17. WOMEN HAD ALWAYS WORKED <ul><li>UK Wartime ‘expansion’ a myth. </li></ul><ul><li>From 1880-1960 an almost unchanged 31% of the labour force was female. </li></ul><ul><li>It was what they worked at that changed. </li></ul>
  18. 18. The ‘Feminisation of Employment (Nothing to do with Mrs. Pankhurst) <ul><li>Move from old ‘muscle industries’ </li></ul><ul><li>Cotton was the Industrial Revolution !! </li></ul><ul><li>Move to new lighter industry </li></ul><ul><li>That Typing Pool </li></ul><ul><li>Move to Service and Retail work </li></ul><ul><li>Move to London and the south </li></ul><ul><li>Brainwork rather than Brawn-work </li></ul>
  20. 20. For the unmarried young woman the world was changing <ul><li>Courtaulds Rayon Spinning 1929 </li></ul><ul><li>Bobbed hair </li></ul><ul><li>Short Skirt </li></ul><ul><li>Silk Stockings </li></ul><ul><li>Eye brows trimmed </li></ul><ul><li>A new woman with some money </li></ul>
  21. 21. Attitudes of these working girls <ul><li>In Britain between 1861 – 1911 numbers of female clerks increased X 4. </li></ul><ul><li>Huge rise of working women in ‘white collar’ trades. </li></ul><ul><li>In the 1930s looking at age group 18-34, the numbers of single women in the 1930s were double that of the 1950s. </li></ul><ul><li>Huge rise in disposable income </li></ul>
  22. 22. The Woman’s Film (At Last!) <ul><li>The function of this type of movie was to articulate female concerns, angers and desires, to give substance to a woman’s dreams and a woman’s problems. </li></ul><ul><li>Or was it? </li></ul><ul><li>So why did it thrive in the 1930s? </li></ul>
  23. 23. The Three M Theory <ul><li>Almost all films of this genre revolved around. </li></ul><ul><li>A) Men (My god: always a problem) </li></ul><ul><li>B) Marriage (Even if it came late in the movie) </li></ul><ul><li>C) Motherhood (Every woman’s real dream – even if she does not know it.) </li></ul><ul><li>Most plots very moral where bad girls lost out or returned to true love. </li></ul>
  24. 24. A Business Opportunity <ul><li>White Collar work demanded suitable, fashionable, smart and clean clothing </li></ul><ul><li>In 1909 ‘The Dry Goods Economist’ </li></ul><ul><li>“ The way out of overproduction must be in finding out what the new woman at the counter is going to want: make it, then drop it and go on to something else” </li></ul>
  25. 25. That Economic Situation Again <ul><li>Depression in the USA and Germany </li></ul><ul><li>Recession in Britain </li></ul><ul><li>We can make more than we can sell! </li></ul><ul><li>How do we get that economy rolling? (Keynes) </li></ul>
  26. 26. But this was a huge new medium in the Depths of the Depression <ul><li>How about a little fashion show to get those tills ringing </li></ul><ul><li>Showcase fashion and accessories </li></ul><ul><li>“ American Trade follows American pictures and not the American flag. </li></ul><ul><li>(William Fox) </li></ul>
  27. 27. Kill em With Looks <ul><li>Very important in any economic downturn to dress smartly </li></ul><ul><li>Ie: Finance today </li></ul><ul><li>Very important for young women making it in a man’s world </li></ul>
  28. 28. Noticed by Observers at the Time 1930s Aristoc <ul><li>“ Factory Girls Looking Like Actresses” </li></ul><ul><li>J B Priestley (English Journey 1934) </li></ul>
  29. 29. Hooray for Hollywood <ul><li>The ‘woman’s picture’ of the 1930s was a Hollywood Experience. </li></ul><ul><li>It was ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ rather than ‘The Road to Wigan Pier’ </li></ul><ul><li>Does Hollywood colour our image of the 1930s? </li></ul>
  30. 30. Who are we talking About? <ul><li>Tough experienced women hard boiled and hard nosed career women making her way in a man’s world from: </li></ul><ul><li>:A) New York Stage </li></ul><ul><li>B) The ‘casting couch’ ethics of Hollywood </li></ul><ul><li>C) A devastated Europe </li></ul>
  31. 31. Oh those eyes <ul><li>Bette Davis </li></ul><ul><li>New York stage actress </li></ul><ul><li>What you saw was very much what you got. </li></ul>
  32. 32. The Dominant Force of the Era Encouraged you to be a star <ul><li>Bette Davis lived her life as a screenplay. </li></ul><ul><li>As hard in life as on celluloid </li></ul><ul><li>Audiences saw her as living their life. </li></ul><ul><li>Even the dowdy girl can become a swan! </li></ul><ul><li>Now Voyager” </li></ul><ul><li>You too can look like this and have this effect on men with a little attention to detail. </li></ul>
  33. 33. European Sophisticated and Box Office Poison <ul><li>Garbo </li></ul><ul><li>A hint of a past. Could act in ways that an American could not. </li></ul><ul><li>The Greatest of all </li></ul><ul><li>Bryn Mahr education and voice </li></ul><ul><li>Determined, moneyed, well dressed and her own gal </li></ul><ul><li>The ‘boyish Type’ </li></ul>
  34. 34. BUT MY FAVOURITE <ul><li>Scandalous </li></ul><ul><li>Her own Girl </li></ul><ul><li>Dressed like a ‘Girl Friday’ </li></ul>
  35. 35. HOLLYWOOD CIRCUMSTANCES <ul><li>“ All the stars that ever were are parking cars and pumping gas” </li></ul><ul><li>Hollywood flooded with young people scarred by the depression who would do literally anything to get that break in the movies. Audiences of the time related to them as sisters in adversity. </li></ul>
  36. 36. And Talking About Tough: From rags to Pepsi
  37. 37. That Hays Act
  38. 38. Nothing new in using the entertainment industry to advertise <ul><li>Used in the New York and London stages </li></ul><ul><li>Sarah Bernhardt used Kohl lip rouge </li></ul><ul><li>Studio Moguls were mainly from the garment trades. </li></ul><ul><li>Zukor – Furrier: </li></ul><ul><li>Goldwyn – Gloves: </li></ul><ul><li>Mayer – Used Clothes: </li></ul><ul><li>Warner: Shoes. </li></ul>
  39. 39. The London Stage was Fashion on display <ul><li>Huge endorsement of ‘beauty aids’. </li></ul><ul><li>Actors used as ‘walking advertisements’. </li></ul><ul><li>Hats and Gloves </li></ul><ul><li>Marie Tempest wore Doucet and Worth and popularised furs </li></ul>
  40. 40. Your Industry needs you <ul><li>Floors in Dept. Stores for Hollywood Fashion. </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Studio and Cinema Fashion’ had it in the stores before the movie appeared </li></ul><ul><li>Waldman Bureau in New York planned the fashions for the movie up to one year in advance. </li></ul>
  41. 41. Sorry About the Quality of the Photo <ul><li>But, it is an avalanche of publicity </li></ul><ul><li>We will dress you from head to toes </li></ul>
  42. 42. Letty Linton <ul><li>The Dress that Launched a Thousand Shops </li></ul><ul><li>Publicity shots were also fashion shoots </li></ul><ul><li>The ‘make over’ and new beginnings </li></ul><ul><li>Ie: 42 nd Street </li></ul>
  43. 43. Your Mall Needs You <ul><li>Will Hays (Pres. Motion Picture Distributers) </li></ul><ul><li>“ Every foot of film sells $1:00 worth of manufactured goods </li></ul>
  44. 44. Would we kid you? <ul><li>Huge tie in with manufacturers. Buick financed ten movies especially Gold Diggers of 1935 </li></ul><ul><li>Inserts put in the scripts </li></ul>
  46. 46. Surely this does not qualify as a ‘woman’s picture’? <ul><li>The Glamour that saved RKO </li></ul><ul><li>Every scene used a different look and a different style of dress. </li></ul><ul><li>Sheer life style aspirations </li></ul>
  47. 47. You Cannot Hide More money made from Shirley Temple clothes spin-offs than from Shirley Temple Movies
  48. 48. ‘ SHORTS’ And Full Length Movies made around fashion shows. <ul><li>FASHIONS OF 1934: Well that is how it turned out. </li></ul><ul><li>Also starring young Bette Davies </li></ul>
  49. 49. NOT ALL WITH THE SAME QUALITY <ul><li>“ This is surely one of the worst films ever made. Each scene is painful. You will groan at the flimsy attempts at humor, the awkward camera work, the sexism and racism, the ridiculous story line, the wooden acting. Poor Joan Bennett; she is the only one in the movie who is not an embarrassment. In all, dreadful.” Halliwell’s Film Guide </li></ul>
  50. 50. Britain versus USA <ul><li>A much less affluent society </li></ul><ul><li>Wages lower than USA </li></ul><ul><li>Retail culture not focused on the masses </li></ul><ul><li>Fashion was upper and middle class </li></ul><ul><li>But, the young working girl wanted to look just like that movie star </li></ul>
  51. 51. British Movies not Quite Hollywood <ul><li>Realism rather than glamour. </li></ul><ul><li>Popular but not an aspiration </li></ul><ul><li>But ‘Gracie’ a huge star </li></ul>
  52. 52. Oh Darling! Automobiles in Britain very much for the upper end of the middle class.
  53. 53. But it Still Worked <ul><li>Its not Ginger Rogers but it is the Movies </li></ul>
  54. 54. But Girls you can afford War-paint <ul><li>The face of young women became the face of the movies. </li></ul><ul><li>Make-up was the Hollywood fashion item </li></ul><ul><li>In 1931 $2billion spent on cosmetics </li></ul>
  55. 55. The 1918 Working Girl <ul><li>Scrubbed and Plain </li></ul><ul><li>Would never be seen with face make-up. </li></ul><ul><li>A little ‘eau de cologne’ Make up pre WW1 used by the Beau Monde and the Demi Monde. </li></ul><ul><li>Elena Rubenstein and Elizabeth Arden moved from Bond Street to Hollywood. Theda Bara (1917) used Rubenstein to improve eyes which looked like black pits on stage. </li></ul>
  56. 56. Hooray for Hollywood Clara and Louise <ul><li>Hooray for Hollywood </li></ul><ul><li>You may be homely in your neighbourhood </li></ul><ul><li>But if you think that you can be an actor </li></ul><ul><li>See Mr Factor: </li></ul><ul><li>He’d make a monkey look good </li></ul>
  57. 57. Enter the King: Max Fierstein <ul><li>Polish Wig Maker </li></ul><ul><li>Russian State Circus (LA in 1908) </li></ul><ul><li>Early make up Vaseline covered in Flour </li></ul><ul><li>Freckles and teeth fillings came out black </li></ul><ul><li>Supreme Grease Paint in 1914 (Replace Vaseline and flour) </li></ul><ul><li>Pan-stick in the 1930s for colour film (attain the glamour of Hollywood) </li></ul>
  58. 58. Invest in Yourself: Now you can be a star. And Its In the Shops <ul><li>Max Factor Society Make-up </li></ul><ul><li>Eye Shadow & pencil, mascara. </li></ul><ul><li>In 1928 Jean Harlow plucked her eye-brows </li></ul><ul><li>Lipstick for the masses came with colour </li></ul><ul><li>The look of Hollywood can be yours at your local store. </li></ul>
  59. 59. And boy did it work <ul><li>The face of the Hollywood woman became the face of the western woman </li></ul><ul><li>In 1931 $2 Billion spent in USA on cosmetics </li></ul>
  60. 60. Whatever happened to those East End Girls? <ul><li>Bill Brandt 1935 </li></ul><ul><li>Plucked eyebrows and liner </li></ul><ul><li>Lipstick </li></ul><ul><li>Powder and smoking in public? </li></ul><ul><li>Single working class girl looking and behaving and dressing in a way her mother would have thought a scandal </li></ul>
  61. 61. And One More Product for the Girls
  63. 63. It carried on after the war <ul><li>Susan Heywood </li></ul><ul><li>Its nothing to do with genetics – its all in the soap </li></ul>
  64. 64. To Recap all this nonsense <ul><li>It all came together </li></ul><ul><li>Movie Technology </li></ul><ul><li>The new working girl </li></ul><ul><li>A depression or recession </li></ul><ul><li>A new industry showing how to make it, how to be hard but feminine, and always showing that virtue pays. </li></ul>
  65. 65. If it worked so well what killed it? <ul><li>Changing prosperity </li></ul><ul><li>A more affluent and more ‘worldly’ consumer society </li></ul><ul><li>But mainly the ‘box’ in the corner of the room </li></ul>
  66. 66. THE WOMAN’S PICTURE OF THE 1930s Vanguard of Feminism or Cynical Marketing Ploy? (Or Both!)