Work!

A Queer History of Modeling

Work!
Book Pages: 368 Illustrations: 79 illustrations, incl. 71 in color Published: May 2019

Subjects
American Studies, Art and Visual Culture > Fashion, Gender and Sexuality > Sex and Sexuality

From the haute couture runways of Paris and New York and editorial photo shoots for glossy fashion magazines to reality television, models have been a ubiquitous staple of twentieth- and twenty-first-century American consumer culture. In Work! Elspeth H. Brown traces the history of modeling from the advent of photographic modeling in the early twentieth century to the rise of the supermodel in the 1980s. Brown outlines how the modeling industry sanitized and commercialized models' sex appeal in order to elicit and channel desire into buying goods. She shows how this new form of sexuality—whether exhibited in the Ziegfeld Follies girls' performance of Anglo-Saxon femininity or in African American models' portrayal of black glamour in the 1960s—became a central element in consumer capitalism and a practice that has always been shaped by queer sensibilities. By outlining the paradox that queerness lies at the center of capitalist heteronormativity and telling the largely unknown story of queer models and photographers, Brown offers an out of the ordinary history of twentieth-century American culture and capitalism.

Praise

"Whether it’s the showgirls of the 1920s, fashion photographer George Platt Lynes spearheading 'queer glamour' in the 1930s, or the groundbreaking Black models of the 1950s and ’60s, Brown’s book will reshape our understanding of the modeling industry." — Evette Dionne, Bitch Magazine

“Rigorously researched and eloquently argued, Work! is a brilliant and unique book that merges theory, method, and empirical historical work to create a new understanding of capitalism, sexuality, and the image. Elspeth H. Brown changes our approach to the history of sexuality and sets a new standard for studies of capitalism and culture.” — Nan Enstad, author of Cigarettes, Inc.: An Intimate History of Corporate Imperialism


“Elspeth H. Brown queers fashion modeling in a much-needed, highly readable way, with anecdotes that will surprise and educate even the most seasoned of fashion studies scholars. Her skill as a historian and nuanced analyst are on clear display through quality scholarship that brings the disparate fields of queer theory, affect studies, and the history of capitalism into fruitful conversation. A must-read for scholars of media and the body!” — Elizabeth Wissinger, author of This Year’s Model: Fashion, Media, and the Making of Glamour


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Elspeth H. Brown is Associate Professor of History at the University of Toronto, coeditor of Feeling Photography, also published by Duke University Press, and author of The Corporate Eye: Photography and the Rationalization of American Commercial Culture, 1884–1929.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments  ix
Illustrations  xiii
Introduction  1
1. From the Artist's Model to the Photographic Model: Containing Sexuality in the Early Twentieth Century  25
2. Race, Sexuality, and the 1920s Stage Model  69
3. Queering Interwar Fashion: Photographers, Models, and the Queer Production of the "Look"  103
4. Black Models and the Invention of the US: "Negro Market," 1945-1960  163
5. "You've Got to Be Real": Constructing Femininity in the Long 1970s  211
Epilogue  271
Notes  277
Bibliography  313
Index
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-1-4780-0033-4 / Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4780-0026-6
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