Description - Too Much of a Good Thing by Ramona Curry
Before Madonna, before Marilyn, there was Mae. The impact of Mae West - through her films, attitude. and aphorisms "too much of a good thing can be wonderful"; "is that a gun in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?" - continues to reverberate through American popular culture 15 years after her death. Ramona Curry examines the interplay between West's bawdy, worldly persona and 20th-century gender and media politics. Although West has remained an important figure, her image has fulfilled varied cultural functions. In the 1930s, she was a lightning rod for debates over morality and censorship. in the 1970s, the complexity of her portrayal of gender made her a controversial figure for both the gay rights and feminist movements. Curry analyzes the symbolic roles West has occupied, arguing that she represents a carefully orchestrated transgression of race, class, and gender expectations, a transgression expressed through West's spectacular costumes, her distinctive performance style, and her on- and off- screen relations with African Americans and gay men. In addition takes a historical look at west's disruptive power as a comedian, a primary source of her continuing appeal.
Moving beyond a detailed examination of Mae West's place in American popular culture, Curry illustrates how icons of pop culture often distil contested social issues, serving diverse and even contradictory political functions. Curry then proposes a model for cultural studies that integrates history, media, and feminist theory.
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University of Minnesota Press
Publisher: University of Minnesota Press
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