Diana Dors in the 1970s: Surviving the Cultural Devaluation of the Sex Symbol

Shingler, Martin (2016) Diana Dors in the 1970s: Surviving the Cultural Devaluation of the Sex Symbol. In: Film & Media 2016: Questions of Cultural Value, 7-9 Jul 2016, Friends' House Conference Centre, London. (Unpublished)

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Second wave feminism contributed to the sex symbol’s devaluation as a commodity in the 1970s, relegating blonde bombshells to low-status genres such as sexploitation films and pornography. Consequently, Diana Dors (1931-84) – Britain’s most successful blonde bombshell of the 1950s – spent the 1970s appearing in small roles in films such as Swedish Wildcats (1972), Adventures of a Taxi Driver (1976) and Confessions from the David Galaxy Affair (1979). These were a far cry from her starring role in the critically acclaimed Yield to the Night (1956), nominated for a Palme D’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and for three BAFTA awards. Dors’ film career subsequently collapsed, particularly when a new generation of British female stars (most notably, Julie Christie) came to prominence in the 1960s as part of the British New Wave. Dors’ waning film career resulted as much from the cultural devaluation of the sex symbol as from the actress’s visible ageing and expanding waistline. However, as this paper reveals, closer look at her work as a celebrity in the 1970s reveals that Dors maintained a degree of cultural capital by employing an ironic detachment from her former star image, more clearly revealing her intelligence, wit and versatility.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: Media > Film
Divisions: Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries > School of Media and Communications
Depositing User: Martin Shingler
Date Deposited: 09 Sep 2016 12:16
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2019 09:11
URI: http://sure.sunderland.ac.uk/id/eprint/6621

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