“Boyish” Women and Female Soldiers: British Gender Disguise Comedies between the World Wars

O'Rourke, Chris (2021) “Boyish” Women and Female Soldiers: British Gender Disguise Comedies between the World Wars. In: The Routledge Companion to European Cinema. Routledge, pp. 285-293. ISBN 9780367461850

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Boyish” Women and Female Soldiers: British Gender Disguise Comedies between the World Wars

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Abstract

Films involving gender-crossing or gender non-conforming characters have been a feature of cinema in Europe since the earliest years of filmmaking. In this chapter, I focus on British gender disguise comedies produced in the years between the First and Second World Wars. In many ways, the films discussed, including Girls Will Be Boys (1934) and Me and Marlborough (1935), exemplify the tendency in interwar popular culture to reinforce conventional notions of gender and sexuality, and to reassure audiences that, despite the economic and political freedoms that women were increasingly demanding in this period, the privileges associated with masculinity remained fundamentally unchanged. But, as with other gender disguise comedies, these films also signal the limitations of binary views of gender, providing moments of subversive humor and queer pleasure, and making room for experiences and subjectivities that cross or blur gendered boundaries.

Keywords:British cinema, Gender-crossing, Queer history, Female masculinity
Subjects:P Mass Communications and Documentation > P303 Film studies
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V210 British History
Divisions:College of Arts > Lincoln School of Film & Media > Lincoln School of Film & Media (Film)
College of Arts > School of History & Heritage > School of History & Heritage (History)
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ID Code:45024
Deposited On:17 Feb 2022 12:49

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