Finding Meaning in the Stars: Photoplay Magazine and Women in World War II Public Deposited

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Last Modified
  • March 20, 2019
  • Lacy, Laura
    • Affiliation: Hussman School of Journalism and Media, Mass Communication Graduate Program
  • Photoplay was one of the most popular fan magazines of the 1940s, filled with seemingly authentic glimpses into Hollywood stars’ lives. Within that content, Photoplay communicated values, norms, concerns, and ideologies to women readers. Adopting the theoretical framework of cultural studies, this thesis studies Photoplay from October 1942 through November 1945, adding to the body of research about women, media, and World War II by offering an in-depth textual analysis of the magazine during the war. It examines what messages regarding women’s wartime roles and behaviors appeared, how they changed over time, how Photoplay reinforced or challenged prevailing mass-mediated notions about women’s wartime roles, and what the magazine tells us about women readers of Photoplay and historical audiences. This research reveals that a relationship deeper than one between an unknowable celebrity author and a passive reader existed behind the tales about celebrity romance, women on the homefront, and war work.
Date of publication
Resource type
Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Kasson, Joy
  • Johnston, Anne
  • Friedman, Barbara
  • Master of Arts
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2017

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