×

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

From Mae to Madonna: Women Entertainers in Twentieth-Century America
     

From Mae to Madonna: Women Entertainers in Twentieth-Century America

by June Sochen
 

See All Formats & Editions

Entertainers were the first group of successful women to capture the public eye, taking to the stage in vaudeville and film and redefining their place in society. June Sochen introduces the white, African American, and Latina women who danced on Broadway, fell on bananas in silent films, and wisecracked in smoky clubs, as well as the modern icons of today's movies

Overview

Entertainers were the first group of successful women to capture the public eye, taking to the stage in vaudeville and film and redefining their place in society. June Sochen introduces the white, African American, and Latina women who danced on Broadway, fell on bananas in silent films, and wisecracked in smoky clubs, as well as the modern icons of today's movies and popular music. Sochen considers such women as Mae West, Bette Davis, Shirley Temple, Lucille Ball, and Mary Tyler Moore to discover what show business did for them and what they did for the world of entertainment. She uses the life of 30s and 40s Latina star Lupe Velez as a case study of the roles available to Latinas in popular culture. She then contrasts her story with that of the African American action star Pam Grier to demonstrate the old and new ways minority women are portrayed in popular culture. From Mae to Madonna places each woman within the context of her time and talks about her relationship with dominant female stereotypes. Sochen discusses women's roles as Mary, Eve, and Lilith and asks thought-provoking questions. Why did the Depression give women movie stars so many important roles while the so-called feminist 1970s did not? Why has television been a congenial venue for women comics while film has not? In examining how entertainers worked within or transformed particular genres and how their personal and public lives affected their careers, From Mae to Madonna casts the spotlight on a series of remarkable women and their dramatic effect on America's popular culture.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Sochen opines that, as an entity, female entertainers were the first women to capture the public eye." — American Historical Review

"For anyone interested in the changing role of women in the mass media, From Mae to Madonna offers a fascinating account of how much and how little things have changed." — Douglas Gomery

"A broad survey of images of women in commercial entertainment, looking beyond simply cinema to vaudeville, nightclubs, radio, television, and popular music." — Journal of American History

"Strives to reach a more nuanced comprehension of women in popular culture. She calls attention to the importance of seeing popular culture as a category of inquiry and demonstrates how placing women performers within their historical contexts offers significant understanding of American women's experiences." — Journal of Women's History

"Examine[s] the historical impact of women in the entertainment industry, offering perceptive comments about American culture in the process." — Library Journal

"Sochen describes the ways women escaped the banal and stereotypical, the ways in which they led insurrections against social and sexual restrictions. Behind 'nice girl' and 'bad girl' images, women on stage deployed their resources against the lines of perfect decorum." — Lillian Schlissel, CUNY

Winter K. Miller
...[A] basic introduction to modern female performers. It covers enough ground to be interestingbut is too broad... —The New York Times Book Review
Library Journal
These two volumes examine the historical impact of women in the entertainment industry, offering perceptive comments about American culture in the process. Sochen (history, Northeastern Illinois Univ.) divides performers into various groups: black women vaudevillians, bawdy women entertainers, the entertainer as reformer, child stars, and women comics, to name a few. She examines a potpourri of stars within these contexts, including the details of their careers, the obstacles they encountered, their personal histories, their impact on the public, and their relevance to the eras in which they performed. Many were symbolic of Eve (the seductress), Mary (sweet and innocent), or Lillith (the career woman), while others violated these conventional female boundaries. Katharine Hepburn, Bette Davis, Ethel Waters, Mae West, Eva Tanguay, Shirley Temple, Dinah Shore, and Roseanne Barr are among those discussed. Popular entertainment collections should find this work useful. Rank Ladies, on the other hand, focuses more exclusively on women in vaudeville, discussing their history, specialties, difficulties, and triumphs as well as their place in society in the early part of this century. Women performers gradually introduced more complex elements to the vaudeville stage--e.g., classical music, satire, theatrical adaptations, and inventive material--that challenged previous standards. Curiously, this produced a mix that was at once successful, provocative, and threatening, changing the composition of audiences, the philosophies of theater managers, the texture of the vaudeville art form, and the nature of the entertainers' work environment. Kibler (Ctr. for Women's Studies, Australian National Univ.) has done an impressive job not only of researching her subject but also of fluidly weaving it into a valuable and entertaining narrative from which she draws perceptive insights and conclusions on the culture of the time that are relevant in any age. For scholarly audiences and those interested in early 20th century American culture.--Carol J. Binkowski, Bloomfield, NJ Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780813191997
Publisher:
University Press of Kentucky
Publication date:
03/14/2008
Series:
None Ser.
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.57(d)

Meet the Author

June Sochen, professor of history at Northeastern illinois University, is the author of She Who Laughs Lasts: The Life and Times of Mae West.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews