Mae West: SEX, and Gay Rights in the Gay Nineties

mae west 1916 - by james abbe

I’ve written alot about Lady Gaga and Madonna, but did you know that the original revolutionary maverick in the game was another blond bombshell named Mae West? West was born in 1893 in Bushwick, Brooklyn and went on to become a Vaudeville star. She wrote her own risque plays under the pen name Jane Mast. And heres the interstin part honey,

Her first starring role on Broadway was in a 1926 play she entitled Sex, which she wrote, produced, and directed. Though critics panned the show, ticket sales were good. Very good. The notorious production did not go over well with city officials, and the theater was raided, with West arrested along with the cast. She was prosecuted on morals charges and, on April 19, 1927, was sentenced to ten days for “corrupting the morals of youth.” While locked up on Welfare Island (now known as Roosevelt Island), she dined with the warden and his wife; she told reporters that she had worn her silk panties while serving time. (Whatta gal!) She served eight days with two days off for good behavior. Media attention surrounding the incident enhanced her career. As it usually does.

Her next play, The Drag, dealt with homosexuality and was what West called one of her “comedy-dramas of life”. She penned the play in the spirit of gay rights, and was quoted as saying: β€œWhy do you need to put homosexuals in ghetto with your prude attitude? They should be treated with understanding.” After a series of try-outs in Connecticut and New Jersey, West announced she would open the play in New York. However, The Drag never opened on Broadway due to the Society for the Prevention of Vice vows to ban it if West attempted to stage it. West was an early supporter of the women’s liberation movement, but said she was not a feminist. She was also a supporter of gay rights.

So as you can see, Gaga, Madge and even Miley Cyrus have this heroine of the classic age to thank for being the original glamorous upstart. Imagine the courage and hootzpah it took being a Gay rights supporter in the early 1900’s, or putting on a show called SEX, when skirts were barley above the ankle. Whatta dame. The best thing to come out of Bushwick yet….
Taken from Wikipedia and fashion-at.com

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