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Beauty in the Eye of the Beholder: Images of Women from the United States and Great Britain During World War II

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Abstract:

During World War II many countries used propaganda posters that depicted women in order to persuade people to act in a certain way or to do as the government wished. Graphic artists creating these posters during the World War II era drew from advertising and film to attract an audience to the government’s messages. In this poster I will examine differences in the ways that graphic artists in the Untied States and Great Britain depicted women in propaganda posters, and how each country borrowed from its own cinematic efforts to create a standard of beauty for the women of their respective countries. Both forms of media, posters and film, potentially guided women into constructing or reinforcing an identity, as well as enabled them to support the war effort.
The United States and Great Britain had diverse ideas about what was glamorous and appropriate during wartime. Using wartime film history from both countries provides evidence that these disparities appeared in more than one form of visual imagery. American images of women in propaganda posters were much more glamorous and drew upon Hollywood starlet iconography. British graphic artists eschewed the Hollywood style under the advisement of government officials and used what has been referred to as “natural beauty” in their posters. Surveys of young female cinemagoers showed that British women preferred this idea of natural beauty in their movies during wartime. This poster will demonstrate that these differences were apparent in propaganda posters as well.
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Name: American Historical Association
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http://www.historians.org


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p24597_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Hoyt, Marguerite. "Beauty in the Eye of the Beholder: Images of Women from the United States and Great Britain During World War II" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Historical Association, <Not Available>. 2013-12-17 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p24597_index.html>

APA Citation:

Hoyt, M. E. "Beauty in the Eye of the Beholder: Images of Women from the United States and Great Britain During World War II" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Historical Association <Not Available>. 2013-12-17 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p24597_index.html

Publication Type: Poster
Abstract: During World War II many countries used propaganda posters that depicted women in order to persuade people to act in a certain way or to do as the government wished. Graphic artists creating these posters during the World War II era drew from advertising and film to attract an audience to the government’s messages. In this poster I will examine differences in the ways that graphic artists in the Untied States and Great Britain depicted women in propaganda posters, and how each country borrowed from its own cinematic efforts to create a standard of beauty for the women of their respective countries. Both forms of media, posters and film, potentially guided women into constructing or reinforcing an identity, as well as enabled them to support the war effort.
The United States and Great Britain had diverse ideas about what was glamorous and appropriate during wartime. Using wartime film history from both countries provides evidence that these disparities appeared in more than one form of visual imagery. American images of women in propaganda posters were much more glamorous and drew upon Hollywood starlet iconography. British graphic artists eschewed the Hollywood style under the advisement of government officials and used what has been referred to as “natural beauty” in their posters. Surveys of young female cinemagoers showed that British women preferred this idea of natural beauty in their movies during wartime. This poster will demonstrate that these differences were apparent in propaganda posters as well.

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