Francesca Cantore, Damiano Garofalo

«Two Pairs of Legs with Only One Head». The Kessler Sisters and Italian Culture

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Kessler, Models of Femininity, Variety Entertainment, Italian Television, Celebrity Studies

This essay analyzes the case of the artistic duo formed by Alice and Ellen Kessler in Italy during the early ‘60s. Following the cultural and social changes that take place in Italian society during those years, the model of femininity proposed by the Kesslers took shape in two distinct and contradictory directions. Through the analysis of some of their public appearances (between cinema, theater and television), together with the discourses that emerge from the Italian press of the period, it is possible to underline how the classic stereotypes about the sensuality of their bodies (their resemblance to each other, their legs, their «blondness», etc.) intertwined with an imaginary that was opposed to the classic association between foreign divas and sexual freedom («cold sensuality», Germanicity, and even some references to Nazism).

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