In class today, we’ll be considering how the way a woman looks on stage contributes to the way audiences and critics perceive her performance. To earn a participation credit for today, e-mail me ahead of time with at least two examples we can use in class for discussion. These can be controversies over a female musician’s dress or looks, images, video clips, etc., from any historical period. Include a few sentences about why you think your examples are significant or interesting, and be prepared to explain them in class.
Take one of the songs on the listening list for today, which all either support or caricature the women’s suffrage movement in some way. Write a detailed, 1-page analysis of the song. Your discussion should include both the lyrics and the music.
What is the form of the song? What message do the lyrics send, and how do they send it? How does the music support or alter the meaning of the lyrics? (Listen for the use of major or minor keys, the tempo, the way the performer sings, etc.)
Search through a historical publication (you can use a ProQuest historical newspapers database, the Library of Congress, fultonhistory.com, or another database with historical periodicals) for articles about chorus girls between about 1880 and 1930. I recommend the Police Gazette.
Post links/images/excerpts from some of your most interesting findings in the “Chorus Girls” thread on Blackboard. You should also comment on your own findings or those of your classmates–how are chorus girls usually characterized in newspaper and magazine reports?
Women’s Fashion and Musical Performance
Reading: Noola Griffiths, study description and discussion from “‘Posh music should equal posh dress’: an investigation into the concert dress and physical appearance of female soloists”
Music and the Women’s Suffrage Movement
Reading: Susan J. Glenn, “Actresses and Activism,” from Female Spectacle: The Theatrical Roots of Modern Feminism, pp. 134–148
Listening: Anna Chandler, “She’s Good Enough to Be Your Baby’s Mother, and She’s Good Enough to Vote With You”
Billy Murray, “Your Mother’s Gone Away to Join the Army”
Maurice Burkhart, “Since My Margarette Become a Suffragette”
Women on Broadway and in Variety Theater – Chorus Girls
Reading: Excerpt from Lisa Misejewski, Ziegfeld Girl
Listening: John Steele, “A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody”
Fanny Brice, “My Man”
Eva Tanguay, “I Don’t Care”