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Body Image: Fashioning the Postwar American

Dione, Jill Francesca (2009) Body Image: Fashioning the Postwar American. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Chapter 1 "Introduction" sets forth the overarching theme. The United States in the 1950s experienced a reconfiguration of gender roles facilitated by depictions, in Hollywood film and magazine advertisements, of fashionable bodies that would mobilize the corporeal and ideological reconfiguration of emulating viewers.Chapter 2 "Apartment for Peggy: Probing the Postwar Prototype" examines the ways in which the post-World War II battle between the United States and Russia for global dominance gave rise to the glorification of domesticity and to the growth of infrastructures and institutions that supported it. Chapter 3 "Underwear and the Red Scare" examines the way in which film and advertising implicitly posited foundation garments as items of apparel that distinguished the American female from her Russian counterpart; secured her immovably as the faithful, housebound wife; and inscribed her body with national anxieties over communist invasion. Chapter 4 "Platex, Peroxide, Playmate: Marilyn Monroe and Sexuality, Whiteness, and Class" argues that the transgressively unsealed and un-buttressed body of Marilyn Monroe not only eliminated the perceived female need for post-coital commitment and the humiliating possibility of female refusal in response to sexual overtures from Everyman but also challenged postwar understandings of class, race (including "whiteness" and "blondeness"), gender, and ethnicity. Chapter 5 "The Ex-G.I. in the Gray Flannel Suit" examines the way that film and advertising attempted either to recuperate the enervated virility of the corporate conformist or to reeducate the war veteran returning from a military world of male camaraderie and adventure to a civilian world of female demands and domesticity. Chapter 6 "Jimmy Stewart: The Man in the White Playtex Girdle" argues that, in most of his postwar films, Stewart was the actor who most consistently embodied the returning veteran's wound-incurring struggle to negotiate a reconciliation between conventionally male/female oppositions.Chapter 7 "Conclusion: Into the Sixties" surveys the 50s' alternatives to gray-flannel conservatism that would set the stage for the protests of the coming decades.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Dione, Jill
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairFischer, Lucylfischer@pitt.eduLFISCHER
Committee MemberStabile,
Committee MemberFeuer, Janescorpio@pitt.eduSCORPIO
Committee MemberNovy, Mariannemnovy@pitt.eduMNOVY
Date: 30 September 2009
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 15 July 2009
Approval Date: 30 September 2009
Submission Date: 7 August 2009
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > English
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1950s; brassieres; culture; fashion; film; gender; girdles; underwear
Other ID:, etd-08072009-140355
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:58
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:48


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