Fashioning the Sexual Body on Television: 1950s-60s Costume, Sexuality and Gender Identity in Masters of Sex (2013- )
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Costume design for television is one of the most important elements through which we make sense of the character, image and narrative portrayed. However, the characteristics of television costume often pass the viewer unnoticed and have rarely been discussed in academic literature. To gain better insight into how costumes convey meaning to the audience, we need to consider the workings of this pivotal yet underexplored aspect of visual storytelling. This dissertation examines how period costume in the Showtime drama series Masters of Sex (2013- ) expresses notions of sexuality and gender identity in its contemporary remediation of 1950s-60s American culture and fashion. Through a close textual analysis of three different but interlinked aspects of costuming –colour, cut and fabric, and acts of undressing the body to skin– this research project seeks to unmask the integral tensions and complex relationships that cons! titute th e workings of costume in Masters of Sex.
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