Swimming Stars of the Silver Screen and the Construction of Gender in the British Surf, 1890-1967

Ripley, Julie (2019) Swimming Stars of the Silver Screen and the Construction of Gender in the British Surf, 1890-1967. Journal of Dress History, 3 (4). pp. 71-105. ISSN 2515-0995

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Abstract / Summary

Clothing for swimming and riding the surf, first on plywood boards known as bellyboards and later on fibreglass surfboards, was developed to suit the chilly waters surrounding the British Isles as growing numbers took to the waves from the nineteenth century onwards. This article traces the development and consumption of such clothing and links it to the style inspiration provided by Hollywood cinema, namely the films featuring Annette Kellerman, Esther Williams and Sandra Dee as Gidget. In spite of the popularity of such films, suitable clothing for swimming, bellyboarding and surfing was often slow to be commercially produced or readily available, so many enthusiasts created homemade versions to serve their needs. In a period (1890-1967) bookended by two waves of feminism, debates around gender roles were given expression, negotiated and renegotiated through dress in the ‘liminal zone’ of the beach, where rules governing neither land nor sea fully applied.

Item Type: Article
ISSN: 2515-0995
Subjects: Fashion & Textiles
Depositing User: Julie Ripley
Date Deposited: 29 Nov 2023 16:29
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2023 16:29
URI: https://repository.falmouth.ac.uk/id/eprint/5312

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