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Fast-Talking Dames$
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Maria DiBattista

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780300088151

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300088151.001.0001

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My Favorite Brunettes

My Favorite Brunettes

Myrna Loy, Jean Arthur, and Claudette Colbert

(p.132) 4 My Favorite Brunettes
Fast-Talking Dames

Maria DiBattista

Yale University Press

This chapter takes a deeper look at the comic symbolism behind the dame's hair color. Anita Loos's famous formulation of hair color to sexual destiny follows the notion that gentlemen may prefer blondes, but marry brunettes. The brunette is taken as the dame who not only enters into marriage, but seems to redefine it. The chapter thus looks at and compares the characters of blondes and brunettes, and gleams on each one's takes on marriage. In the case of the blondes: marriage for Harlow is desirable due to its association with respectability and economic security—it is exploited for her needs. For Lombard, marriage is a field of play. For Rogers, her portrayal as a bachelor mother was her most radical challenge to America's social imagination. In response, it looks at Myrna Loy, Jean Arthur, and Claudette Colbert and sees how their brunette characters played into the notion of the fast-talking dame.

Keywords:   comic symbolism, Anita Loos, sexual destiny, blondes, brunettes, bachelor mother, Myrna Loy, Jean Arthur, Claudette Colbert, fast-talking dame

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