Free

Glamour, Excess and Commodification: The Female Body in 1950s Britain.

Actions and Detail Panel

Free

Event Information

Share this event

Date and time

Location

Location

Online event

Event description
Online research seminar with Lynda Nead

About this event

This presentation considers the distinctive blonde bombshell body of the 1950s; curvaceous and opulent, almost baroque. This body seems the perfect corporeal expression of the emerging affluence and last-ditch military and imperial defiance of Britain in this period. It is the visual culmination of the migration of a U.S., Hollywood-style glamour to Britain. Glamour and sexualised femininity were part of a larger passage of commodities across the Atlantic in this period, but in the process something important happens: Blonde becomes British; Marilyn Monroe becomes Diana Dors, the pin-up girl of the Suez Crisis.

The vulgar excess of the 1950s bombshell body troubled and interfered with a deep-seated myth of British restraint and subtlety. It was, quite simply, too much, beyond containment, and in the end, it came down to a question of scale, or, more accurately, a loss of scale. The expansive female bodies of the 1950s demanded something more than existing flatscreen cinema technologies and these years saw an explosion of cinema-specific technological innovations such as CinemaScope, Cinerama, 3-D, stereoscopic sound and Technicolor.

Drawing on a range of visual culture including photography, film, cartoons and fine art, the paper will explore the many meanings of the female body in 1950s Britain.

Speaker:

Lynda Nead is Pevsner Professor of History of Art at Birkbeck, University of London. She has published widely on a range of art historical subjects and particularly on the history of British visual culture in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Her most recent book is The Tiger in the Smoke: Art and Culture in Post-War Britain (Published for the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art by Yale University Press). She has a number of advisory roles in national art museums and galleries and is a Trustee of the Victoria & Albert Museum. She is currently writing a book called British Blonde: Women, Desire and the Image in Post-War Britain (working title!).

Zoom webinar guidance

Before the webinar

● Please download Zoom software in advance.

● Please register to attend the Research Lunch webinar through Eventbrite.

● We will share the link to the Zoom webinar with you the day before and of the event itself.

● If you require closed captioning during this event, please get in touch at least two weeks before the event date.

During the event

● Paul Mellon Centre staff hosting the event will employ the appropriate security features to help ensure that events and meetings operate safely.

● There will be a waiting room feature that allows the host to control when all participants join the meeting.

● You will be automatically muted when you join the webinar and can only communicate verbally if the host unmutes you.

● The talk will last for 30–40 minutes and will be followed by a Q&A where the chair will prompt discussion.

● Use the Q&A box to ask/write your questions after the talk.

● You can also use the virtual raise hand button if you have a question/comment to make by audio.

● Use the chat box to make comments.

● If you are experiencing any technical problems, please notify Shauna Blanchfield (events manager) or Danielle Convey (events assistant) directly using the chat box function. Alternatively you can email them via events@paul-mellon-centre.ac.uk.

● The Paul Mellon Centre will not take photographs of this event and participants are requested likewise not to do so.

● This session will be recorded.

● Any offensive behaviour will not be tolerated and attendees can be removed from the webinar by the host.

GDPR

The Paul Mellon Centre is aware of its obligations under the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and is committed to processing your data securely and transparently.

For more information on how the Centre processes personal information see our privacy policy. https://www.paul-mellon-centre.ac.uk/about/privacy-policy

For more information on Zoom’s compliance with EU GDPR see: https://zoom.us/gdpr.

Image caption: Diana Dors in Picture Post, 1956. Digital image courtesy of IPC Magazines / Picture Post

Share with friends

Date and time

Location

Online event

Save This Event

Event Saved