From liberation to appropriation : corsets and eroticism in Australian film

Ferrero-Regis, Tiziana (2011) From liberation to appropriation : corsets and eroticism in Australian film. In Erotic Screen and Sound Culture, Media and Desire Conference, 15-18 February 2011, Queensland College of Art, Brisbane, QLD. (Unpublished)

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The corset, with its laces and stays, appears to the modern eyes little more than a stylish torture device. However, the corset enjoyed a reputation among the most fashionable women of the nineteenth century. Since small waists were the primary measure of corporeal beauty, corsets were nearly universal among Western women of the middle class upwards. Wearing a corset was also a marker of decency; only lower classes and women of dubious reputation did not wear corsets. From instrument of torture and symbol of submission to its appropriation by women as a marker of sexual liberation, the corset has gone under a sartorial and symbolic transformation remaining the most erotic element of women’s dress. This paper discusses the corset in two Australian films, Picnic at Hanging Rock (Peter Weir, 1974) and Moulin Rouge (Baz Luhrman, 2001), arguing that the corset provides a counterpoint in each film signifying the tension between beauty and respectability, on the one hand, and desire and transgression, on the other. We argue that the corset is the primary prop around which the narrative revolves as well as the key signifying hook for the audience. The fact that erotic motifs are so rare in Australian films makes the centrality of the corset in these films even more powerful as a discursive trope

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ID Code: 47355
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: No
Keywords: Australian, Fashion, Film, beauty
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LANGUAGES COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE (200000) > CULTURAL STUDIES (200200) > Screen and Media Culture (200212)
Divisions: Past > Disciplines > Fashion
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2011 Tiziana Ferrero-Regis
Deposited On: 30 Nov 2011 21:54
Last Modified: 02 Dec 2011 01:36

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