This study examines early 1950s West German Hosenrolle film to argue that negotiations around the rights to masculinity were critical in postwar reconstruction efforts. The cinematic sub-genre offers a non-heteronormative counterpoint to the discursive reallocation of masculinity that ultimately demanded the emasculation of women, whose sphere of authority had expanded during the war and early postwar years. Analysis of Fritz und Friederike (1952) demonstrates that the feminine masculinity of its protagonist is not pathologized and instead provides a point of resistance to gender norms, patriarchal family structures, and compulsory heterosexuality. Furthermore, the depiction of minority masculinities represented allows for the emergence of feminist, lesbian, and other queer pleasures. However, these films also depict an ambivalence about the new femininity and women's emasculation. Thus, early 1950s Hosenrolle film captures both the fantasy of empowerment and the pain of gender conformity in the wake of the new conservative postwar politics of gender and sexuality.


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pp. 365-394
Launched on MUSE
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