The 1950’s marked a time in Europe where regrowth, development, and progression were experienced or seen. Thetransition took place in many areas of the European people’s life, as well as cinema. One of the famous actresses behind the changes in the cinema scenery was Diana Dors. Diana Dors cemented the way and helped advance the feminist impact in 1950’s European cinema setting and the establishment of the European bombshell image. Through Diana Dors’siconic style, part, and depictionin the media, Diana Dors went on to become an iconic symbolparticularly in the part or role of modernity during this time period in Europe.
Following the war, women’s roles were really altered. With the men returning back from the war and taking back their jobs. During the war, women took the men’s jobs while they away at war. Though many women desired to keep their jobs, a majority of the women became wives and mothers as they awaited their men to come back from the war (Stoneham 2001, 1). In fact, by the year 1957, only 70% of the women were working in administrative positions and service jobs, 12 % of the women had a profession while another 6% of the women held managing positions (Stoneham 2001, 1). The women who held expertpositions or jobs operated as teachers and nurses. However, despite this, many women resulted in taking care of their children and cleaning their houses (Stoneham 2001, 1).
Numerous advertisements in magazines and television shows to some extent had already made a definition on the role of motherhood. The advertisements frequently showed pleasedand smiling women with their arms carrying cooked food, or a woman cleaning the house and looking contented to be doing just that (Stoneham 2001, 1). In summary, during this time period, women stood as devoted housewives whose singleobjective in life was to meet the desires of their husbands and their children. The society believed that this was the only goal for women (Stoneham 2001, 1).
During this time period, the general opinion or view towards sex and marriage largely remained conservative. First, it is vital to note that the act of abortion during this time was completely illegal (Quinault 2001, 1). On the other hand, illegitimacy was very low, due to the fact that there was a social disgrace attached to women who were single mothers and their children. Therefore, women were expected to be married and have children only with men they were married to. Consequently, women were not allowed to engage in divorce. So, unwanted children were every so often given up for adoption or sent to institutes that dealt with children welfare (Quinault 2001, 1).
During this time period, the nuclear family and a home setting were encouraged all over Europe as a safe and protected haven. However, women in cinema were portrayed as women who had abandoned their homes, their husbands and their children. On the other hand, women in cinema were also viewed as people who are emotionally and physically weakpeople in many circles of the society.
Diana Dors an English actress born as Diana Mary Fluck on 23rd October 1931 first came into the lime light as a blonde bombshell mainly in the form or style of Marilyn Monroe. This was promoted by Diana Dors’sfirst husband Dennis Hamilton, mainly through sex film-entertainments and risqué modelling that was sexually provoking and attracted controversy.
Diana Dors pushed the idea that she was a bombshell from what she wore, her pictures on the covers of magazines to the portraits taken by photographers such as Cornel Lucas was a known pioneer in film portraiture (Gilbert 2014, 1). The portraits of Diana Dors taken by Cornel Lucas in Venice City further cement the bombshell idea forwarded by Dors. A good example is the picture taken where Dors is in a gondola in Venice in just a mink bikini (Gilbert 2014, 1).
Unlike in Hollywood media, mainly owing to the swimming pool event, Diana was portrayed as a legend in British media as she even went ahead to be voted as the most popular British star. The amount of sexuality and film posters in both the United States and Britain according to Diana’s interview with Wallace was that sexuality was not open especially for the British media compared to the American media due to Britain’s nature for coolness and being reserved.
Femininity during this time started to witnesseschanges right from the domestic circle to the public circle. The areas that were most developed at this time were parts of the United States where women movements were initiated championing for advocacy of equal rights, as well as the rise of a new age group of female artists, photojournalists, and specialists.
In Femininity in the Frame analysis: The Weak and the Wicked, Passport to Shame, Diana Dors’s role as a ‘blonde bombshell was a significant role in the road to redefining the cultural outlooks especially in the shifts in the direction of modernity that occurred in the 1950s.
According to her interview with Wallace Dors did not embrace the bombshell image. Diana strived for something else otherwise what she did was just an essential part of the work that she did according to her.
Gilbert, Sarah. Photo Noir: The art of photographer Cornel Lucas – in pictures. (February 2014): http://www.theguardian.com/film/gallery/2014/feb/03/photo-noir-the-art-of-photographer-cornel-lucas-in-pictures (accessed March 29, 2016).
Quinault, Roland. Roland Quinault looks at the state of the islands immediately following the Second World War (April 2001): http://www.historytoday.com/roland-quinault/britain-1950 (accessed March 29, 2016).
Stoneham, Nina. Women’s Roles in the 1950s (June 2001): http://1950s.weebly.com/womens-roles.html (accessed March 29, 2016).