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Hollywood Romantic ComedyStates of the Union, 1934-65$
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Kathrina Glitre

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780719070785

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719070785.001.0001

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A little difference: equality and the career woman comedy

A little difference: equality and the career woman comedy

Chapter:
(p.90) 4 A little difference: equality and the career woman comedy
Source:
Hollywood Romantic Comedy
Author(s):

Kathrina Glitre

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9780719070785.003.0020

The rise of capitalism in the nineteenth century defined wage labour as a male prerogative. The breadwinner was expected to be competitive and self-seeking, while his female counterpart was characterised as nurturing and self-sacrificing, and these differences were naturalised as biological. By the forties, the social realities of female employment and changing patterns of production and consumption were increasingly challenging the traditional complementary sex roles. This chapter discusses the concept of equality and how the role of career women is portrayed in Hollywood comedy films. Insisting upon the naturalness of conventional gender roles, the career woman comedy disrupts and even disproves the logic of gender essentialism. It presents a more contradictory pattern by examining the figure of the career woman more closely—not only at the textual level of plot, but also at the extratextual levels of cultural and star discourses.

Keywords:   capitalism, equality, career woman, gender role, gender essentialism

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