The lesbian dandy: the role of dress and appearance in the construction of lesbian identities, Britain 1918-39

Rolley, Katerina (1995) The lesbian dandy: the role of dress and appearance in the construction of lesbian identities, Britain 1918-39. Masters thesis, Middlesex University.

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Abstract

This thesis explores the role of dress and appearance in
the construction of lesbian identities by means of a detailed documentation and analysis of the sexual identities, and styles of self-presentation, of eight self-identified lesbians living in Britain during the inter-war period. The study is concerned both to emphasise the specificity of these women's experiences, and to identify factors common to each subjective narrative, and it is suggested that these over-arching issues were potentially central to the experience of many lesbians living in Britain during the inter-war period.

The source material for the investigation is intentionally
diverse, and the thesis employs a methodology derived from
a number of different areas of academic investigation - in
particular fashion history, subcultural theory, lesbian history and lesbian theory since none of these in isolation adequately addresses the role of self-presentationin the construction of sexual identity. The investigation focuses upon the inter-war period in Britain because although it has been widely characterised as a time of unrivalled significance in relation to the development of a 'modern' lesbian identity and subculture, this period in British lesbian history remains conspicuously underresearched and, in addition, because the proximity of the
1920s and 1930s to the present enables the use of oral
history as a counterbalance to written and visual sources, which invariably favour the famous, aristocratic and/or
'creative' subject' . Therefore this investigation formulates a new approach to the documentation and analysis of the role of self -presentation in the construction of subjective identity, whilst also challenging many existing assumptions surrounding the development of a lesbian identity and subculture in Britain during the inter-war period.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Research Areas: B. > Theses
Item ID: 13467
Depositing User: Adam Miller
Date Deposited: 16 Jan 2015 11:13
Last Modified: 03 Apr 2019 03:05
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/13467

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