Stars, Fans, and Consumption in the 1950s

Reading Photoplay

  • Authors
  • Sumiko Higashi

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xii
  2. General Introduction

    1. Sumiko Higashi
      Pages 1-12
  3. The Stars

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 13-25
    2. Sumiko Higashi
      Pages 27-35
    3. Sumiko Higashi
      Pages 37-45
    4. Sumiko Higashi
      Pages 47-56
    5. Sumiko Higashi
      Pages 57-65
    6. Sumiko Higashi
      Pages 67-74
    7. Sumiko Higashi
      Pages 75-81
    8. Sumiko Higashi
      Pages 83-95
    9. Sumiko Higashi
      Pages 97-105
    10. Sumiko Higashi
      Pages 107-115
    11. Sumiko Higashi
      Pages 117-128
    12. Back Matter
      Pages 129-140
  4. The Fans

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 141-149
    2. Back Matter
      Pages 243-247
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 249-298

About this book


As the leading fan magazine in the postwar era, Photoplay constructed female stars as social types who embodied a romantic and leisured California lifestyle. Addressing working- and lower-middle-class readers who were prospering in the first mass consumption society, the magazine published not only publicity stories but also beauty secrets, fashion layouts, interior design tips, recipes, advice columns, and vacation guides. Postwar femininity was constructed in terms of access to commodities in suburban houses as the site of family togetherness. As the decade progressed, however, changing social mores regarding female identity and behavior eroded the relationship between idolized stars and worshipful fans. When the magazine adopted tabloid conventions to report sex scandals like the Debbie-Eddie-Liz affair, stars were demystified and fans became scandalmongers. But the construction of female identity based on goods and performance that resulted in unstable, fragmented selves remains a legacy evident in postmodern culture today.


Stars stardom celebrity fans fan magazine 1950s teenage girls femininity glamour consumption 15th century America construction culture fragment identity mass performance Plate play society stars

Bibliographic information