Hyper-femininity as radical resistance: re-envisaging the starlet through a feminist practice of solidarity in It’s Sophie! (2018)

SWOFFER, Sophie (2024). Hyper-femininity as radical resistance: re-envisaging the starlet through a feminist practice of solidarity in It’s Sophie! (2018). Studies in Theatre and Performance, 44 (1), 66-83.

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Official URL: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14682...
Open Access URL: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/epdf/10.1080/14682... (Published)
Link to published version:: https://doi.org/10.1080/14682761.2024.2342654.


This article challenges the often-derided role of the young and apparently naive ‘starlet’ figure in film and stage performance. My engagement with the concept of the starlet originates from Laura Mulvey’s influential psychoanalytical feminist essay ‘Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema’ (1989 [1975]), which investigated women on screen in the classical Hollywood era as objects of a misogynistic gaze. My definition of the starlet builds on this work and identifies her as a conventionally yet unattainably glamorous and attractive young woman, who is groomed and policed by patriarchal structures. Mulvey explains how, within the patriarchy of the Hollywood studio system, the ‘determining male gaze projects its phantasy on to the female figure which is styled accordingly’ (1989: 16). This article analyses how my performance practice seeks new ways of resisting and deconstructing the male gaze to produce innovative alternatives to heteronormative femininity. Specifically, I examine It’s Sophie! (2018), which presents a starlet who explodes the idea of a fixed masculinised archetype. The starlet personae in It’s Sophie! engage in subversive hyper-femininities through endurance-based posing that serves to explore their magnified sexuality and monstrous potential. This article presents wonderous and worrying states of unbridled femininity that directly challenge the masculinised gaze.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1904 Performing Arts and Creative Writing; 3604 Performing arts
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1080/14682761.2024.2342654.
Page Range: 66-83
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 20 May 2024 12:54
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2024 13:30
URI: https://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/33726

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