Zarah Leander : den queera divan

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Zarah Leander : den queera divan

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Publication Article, other scientific
Title Zarah Leander : den queera divan
Author(s) Rosenberg, Tiina
Date 2007
English abstract
The Swedish actress and singer Zarah Leander (1907–1981) was one of the most celebrated female stars in German Nazi Cinema 1936–43. She played a crucial role in Joseph Goebbels entertainment industry, and the profit the Nazi regime made on her and other female moviestars were immediately allocated to the German war industry. Leander never offered any excuses or explanations with regard to her productive years in Nazi Germany. She called herself "a political idiot" who just wanted to work and make money, no matter where and under what circumstances. Leander, the ex-Nazi star, never stepped out of that shame. The argument, "only entertainment", was not sufficient to explain all the years in the Nazi entertainment industry. But Leander must in many ways be seen as the antithesis of the prototypical Nazi female and Leander appears as one of Nazi cinema's most contradictory figures. Her star persona has always been a negotiation of antagonistic formulations, thus pointing to modes of audience identification and spectatorship issues, most strikingly articulated through her immense popularity in the post-war gay community. This essay discusses Leander as a queer diva in the way the "phenomenon Leander" emerged in the 1950s and 1960s in Sweden, Germany and internationally. Leander's dark voice, travestie-like persona and her schlager repertoire made her a major gay icon in the 1950s. The queer quality of Leander is to be found in her transgressive erotic representation of her vocal gender ambiguity, transformed in the gay male diva worship into counterpolitical resistance to "normality". This essay deals merely with gay male Leander worship, but Leander also had her lesbian following.
Swedish abstract
På vilket sätt kan konsten vara en källa till tröst och motstånd? Tiina Rosenberg diskuterar divakulten i allmänhet liksom gaykulturen och den kultur som vuxit fram kring artisten Zarah Leander.
Publisher Malmö högskola, Studentcentrum
Host/Issue Tidskrift för genusvetenskap;1-2
ISSN 0348-8365
Pages 67-90
Language swe (iso)
Subject(s) Zarah Leander
queer diva
diva worship
gay culture
gender ambivalence
Humanities/Social Sciences
Research Subject Categories::INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH AREAS::Gender studies
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