Spectacular Bodies: the Swimsuit, Sexuality and Hollywood
This article explores the mutually beneficial relationship between the American swimsuit and film industries during the first three decades of the twentieth century. Three examples will be used: Fatty and the Bathing Beauties from 1913 (prior to regulated film content), Footlight Parade from 1933 (when limited self-regulation had been put in place, but was not yet rigorously enforced) and the Tarzan film franchise (which spans both the second period and a later, third period of actual implementation and subsequent negotiation). Using these examples, the paper will consider several of the popular associations attached to the swimmer and the swimsuit. It will discuss the ways in which Hollywood utilised the swimsuit, the swimmer and swimming in both its films and its promotional materials and will demonstrate how through the sporting associations of both the garment and sports stars, film producers negotiated the processes of censorship and self-regulation while allowing the continued use of semi-naked and eroticised bodies, to their own profit and to that of the increasingly fashionable swimwear industry.
The file attached to this record contains the authors final peer reviewed version of the article. The publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.
Citation : Wright, E. (2015) Spectacular Bodies: The Swimsuit, sexuality and Hollywood. Sport in History. online first
Research Group : Cinema and Television History Research Centre
Research Institute : Cinema and Television History Institute (CATHI)
Peer Reviewed : Yes
- Leicester Media School