Semester of Graduation

Spring 2020

Degree

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

History

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

This thesis examines the life and career of stage, film, and television personality Arlene Francis, in order to add nuance to the understanding of how women broke into the entertainment industry. Francis, rather than brazenly flouting norms, wooed her employers and audience into acceptance by combining her prominent new “power” with comforting old-fashioned norms. The result was a woman doing something patently new while speaking in a way disarmingly familiar. In this way, Francis is reminiscent of other female pioneers, who used a traditionally feminine persona to charm their male colleagues into supporting their leadership, and as a result has been underappreciated by the latter-day champions of women’s advancement.

Committee Chair

Shindo, Charles

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