Master of Arts (MA)
First Committee Member
Second Committee Member
Third Committee Member
Fourth Committee Member
Number of Pages
In mid-twentieth century America, the practice of mixing – the required visibility of performers outside of their time on stage for an economic purpose – cut across the various genres of sexualized female labor, from showgirls to exotic dancers and the professional women who occupied the space between. Mixing required performers socialize with patrons, encouraging them to buy drinks and was expected of a wide variety of female professionals in the decades following the Second World War, including burlesque performers, gogo dancers, exotic dancers, and showgirls, hostesses, waitresses, and B-girls. Women’s bodies have historically been a part of a commercialized leisure culture based on socially acceptable misbehavior, which naturally led to morally-guided legislation that served to restrict labor opportunities for these women and further conflated their profession with prostitution. The study of mixing provides the opportunity to see more clearly the often-blurry lines between job requirements and job expectations, between implied sexual availability
and actual sex work, and between the various definitions of the performative labors of female entertainers.
This thesis demonstrates that mixing shaped both the labor of female performers and the narratives that surrounded their work. Due to its ubiquity in mid-twentieth century American entertainment, the practice of mixing is a valuable tool to contextualize the experience of a wide variety of female performers at an intersection of sexuality, labor, and gender studies. This work contributes to a growing body of scholarship that reevaluates prevailing narrative of sexual conservativeness in the decades prior to the Sexual Revolution and the professionalization of women’s labor. The requirement of female performers to mix changed the job of exotic dancers over
time, creating the economic model for the modern strip club industry.
b drinking; entertainment; exotic dance; mixing; showgirl; womens labor
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Casey, Evan Maryl, "Mixing the Business of Pleasure: How Mixing Shaped the Labor and Narratives of Female Entertainers in Mid-Twentieth Century America" (2018). UNLV Theses, Dissertations, Professional Papers, and Capstones. 3229.
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