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The Feminine Image in Films of the Great Depression

Philip Hanson
The Cambridge Quarterly
Vol. 32, No. 2 (2003), pp. 113-141
Published by: Oxford University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/42968047
Page Count: 29
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The Feminine Image in Films of the Great Depression
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Abstract

This article concerns the effects that the economic trauma of the 1930s had on gender identity for upper-class and working-class women in the United States and, in turn, on representations of feminine identity on the American screen. Women in films of the decade of the Great Depression represent the most verbally dextrous group of actresses in the history of the Hollywood screen at least until the 1970s. The context of altered gender relations in the populace at large merges with the altered roles women occupy in films of the period. The different effects this limited liberation had on the feminine image on the screen emerge in markedly different representations of women from different socio-economic classes, with upper-class women and working-class women receiving quite different film treatments.

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