341 Week 7 #2

December 13, 2010

The star image of Valentino is a text, something you can read and interpret (not Valentino the actual actor). He became a text for the discussion of the acceptance of different ethnic groups into American society. The star image was related to changes in society and in particular, the changing roles of women in society. Valentino was being objectified the way women had been in movies before. He offered women this new desire for romance, sexual gratification etc. that was outside of previous standards for what a women was supposed to be. There were new ideas in the 20s and the studios figured out how to play to those desires. This allowed women to think of themselves as being something beyond the family and what men wanted. Women were becoming more independent, suffrage, marrying for love etc.
Valentino was identified by his ethnicity. He could be thought of as a text for discussing an ethnically changing society. Hansen says that even though he doesn’t seem like it to us today, he was very subversive (not the guy who happened to be a very good acting) in that he represented the major hot button social issues of the day: feminism and immigration. What he symbolized makes him a star. He was famous for his image and not necessarily because he was a better actor or better looking than his contemporaries.

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