Silent Era Fan Magazines and British Cinema Culture: Mediating Women’s Cinemagoing and Storytelling
Film fan magazines were an important element of British silent cinema culture, and a significant platform for mediating between the film industry and its female spectators. Film periodicals–magazines dedicated to movies and film culture–were read by both men and women. Across the teens and into the 1920s they increasingly targeted a female readership as women came to constitute a larger part of the British audience, and stars became a primary commodity for communicating with female consumers. Popular British magazines like Picturegoer and Girls’ Cinema addressed women as consumers of film culture beyond the picture palace by offering up-to-date compilations of star gossip, behind-the-scenes information, and glamorous illustrations. Fan magazines were repositories not just of film content, but of linking commercial “intertexts,” acting as intermdiaries between film and a broader consumer culture. They featured star-endorsed advertising, and commentary on women’s fashion, cosmetics, and domestic labour. As such, fan magazines worked to make cinemagoing and knowledge of gendered cinema culture an important aspect of British women’s everyday experience of modernity.
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