Mae West

Mae West glamorous 1930svia Lou – Wolfm49 | Creative Commons

You know those days when you feel like watching a good old serie that you already watched a hundred times? Well, last week I had one of those days. I felt like watching Sex and the city again. There were two things that went through my head while I was watching. And one thought was new…

  1. It’s all about the good and sincere friends.
  2. Samantha cracks me up again. Brain flash. Hmm…she reminds me of… Mae West!

Be Yourself

When it comes to women, the present and the past there is one red line: They often care (too much) about what others think of them, their options, their life etcetera. Being yourself is key. Being yourself without caring what others think is the ultimate power. Check out my article about the Be Yourselfer.

We all remember the most popular character of the serie Sex and the City: Samantha Jones. And with good reason. Samantha Jones was doing whatever she wanted (and whoever she wanted…) and did not care about the opinions of others or “society”.  Her oneliners are both hilarious, straight to the point and spicy. Although I am pretty certain that Kim Cattrall is also a typical Be Yourselfer with self confidence, Samantha Jones was ofcourse just a character.

Mae West glamorous 1930svia Kate Gabrielle – Slightly Terrific | Creative Commons


The ultimate Be Yourselfer: Mae West

Rewind to the 1930s, back to some “real” character. Meet Mae West. The Samantha Jones of the 30s. I see a lot of similarities. Even if you didn’t know her yet, you probably have heard the following oneliner somewhere: “Is that a gun in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?”. Remember: we’re in the 1930s. Life is simple. Women recently got vote rights and movies with sound were like the release of the first smartphone: new and unknown and something to get used to before leaving the old and comfortable (silent movies).

Also read:  Happy Just-An-Ordinary Day

Mae West was the daring and saucy sex symbol of the early 1930s. Her dialogues and oneliners were always on or over the edge of what was “appropriate” in those days. But ofcourse she couldn’t care less about what was or what was not appropriate. 68 years later her “obscene behavior” would probably have become a succesful episode of Sex and the City or she could be the big sister of Samantha Jones.

Mae Classic Hollywood quotes

Mae West was an actress and stage player. She started her acting career at a very young age. When she was 5, she played in the vaudeville (popular music theatre), that was literally written for her: Baby Vamp. She became a vamp alright. At a later age she wrote, directed and produced her first play. That first play turned out to be very controversial. Mae West was even arrested and convicted for obscene behaviour. But you know what they say, bad publicity is also good publicity. She became even more popular after her conviction. Like a lot of Old Hollywood actresses, she was also ahead of her times. Not only did she support the women’s  liberation movement, she was also one of the early supporters of gay rights. Her second play was about homosexuality. This play was banned from Broadway, but still became a huge success.

From “obscene” behaviour to smart business woman and saucy oneliners to remember

Did she try to fit in with society standards? Certainly not. The movie scene had the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America. Which was basically the anti-obscene and anti-immoral behavior police. They want to prevent Mae West from entering the filmindustry because of her “bad” influence. But…in the early 1930s the biggest filmstudio was on the edge of bankrupcy and they took Mae West in, although they knew it was risky. It appeared to be the best decision they ever made. It is said that Mae West saved the filmstudio from a decay all by herself. Not only saucy, but also smart. After that, her career went uphill. The success of the movies She done him wrong and I am no Angel made her so powerful that she could demand part of the profit of the movies. During the mid-thirties, the anti-obscene police was at it again: the rules were becoming more stricter. So what do you do? You become even more creative. The dialogues of Mae West became more ambiguous than ever to get through the censor.

Also read:  The Classic Hollywood face swap files

mae west

Entering the 1940s, where the censor became even more stricter and Mae Wests popularity was going downhill. Mae dropped out of the filmindustry in 1943 and started performing in nightclubs where there was less censorship and more freedom. Her shows turned out to be succesful. Mae West passed away in 1980 at age of 87.  Of course her dialogues and oneliners are still alive and kicking. Watch  this compilation video of Mae West to check if you also see a Samantha Jones in the dame of the 1930s:

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