Betty Boop: Jazz Age Flapper and Sex Symbol
Inspired by actress Helen Kane, Betty Boop made her first appearance on August 9, 1930. She was made to be a jazz-induced flapper girl with more heart than brains in over a hundred animated films. As a symbol of the Depression era, she became one of the most well-known and popular cartoon characters in the world.
Betty Boop is also regarded as one of the first and most famous sex symbols on the animated screen. While other female characters at that time were merely clones on their male counterparts with eyelashes and high pitched voices, Betty Boop wore revealing dresses, high heels, a garter, and even showed cleavage. Her films were very daring since sexual behavior in film was considered taboo at the time. More daring was the portrayal of sexual harassment on the big screen. The lewd behavior of men [she encounters] is exposed in scenes where Betty is relentlessly pursued, tied up, and even threatened her job if she doesn’t submit to their sexual advances.
The sexual innuendos and Jazz Age attraction of Betty Boop were forced to tone down in 1934 due to decency guidelines of the Motion Picture Industry. She was made to be a fully dressed housewife and career girl to appeal to a more juvenile demographic. This new portrayal hurt her success and resulted in the decline of her series, and attempts to bring her into the new big band and swing era were met with little or no interest.
In the 1980′s advertising and marketing companies brought Betty Boop’s likeness back into the public eye. The subsequent merchandising success of her character in her original, sexier form has surpassed her exposure in films and comic strips, and has become popular worldwide once again.
Even though the animated cartoons of Betty Boop have enjoyed a much deserved rediscovery over the last 30 years, most audiences today are completely unaware of Betty’s place in the history of cinema, animation, and sex.
We have two amazing ‘Betty Boop Collections’ you can watch instantly on BIGSTAR Movies! Each featuring some of her most beloved classics with her ample moves and trademark sultry ways. Click an image to watch now…