Empowering and Advertising the Female Body in The Yellow Book

The Yellow Book ‘s Avant-garde approach to literature and art in part consisted of a reimagined approach to controversial female figures and the female body. Volume 2 of The Yellow Book, for example, uses a woman on the cover art for the magazine: the female figure is made a focal point for the volume. An intersectionality between gender occurs as a result. The female figure, and later on the controversial female figure, represents The Yellow Book. The female body is empowered; and she is given autonomy over the magazine by way of her function as a focal point of study for the volume.

Cover for The Yellow Book Volume 2

However, the empowering of the female body is simultaneously exploited in the magazine for marketability. The Yellow Book uses controversial art of female theatrical performers, or commonly called “fallen women” to represent their stereotyped sexual promiscuity, to add brand-value to the magazine’s Avant-garde brand marketability. Negativity is focalized in the female body and used as a tool for marketing.

The intermediality between text, art, and theatre does nonetheless provide a level of authority for controversial female figures like performers. Art like Walter Sickert’s “The Old Bedford Music Hall” and “Ada Lundberg” force the reader to observe these controversial female figures in the context of and as art. Sickert and others controversially reform the degradation of female performers by forcing the reader to appreciate them as a central part of their art, therefore validating and supporting female performers.

“The Old Bedford Music Hall” by Walter Sickert

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