Jenna Allsopp's study of Vera 'Jack' Holme impresses judges
05 Aug 2014
University of Brighton Fashion and Dress History BA(Hons) student Jenna Allsopp has been awarded the International Design History Society (DHS) essay prize for her dissertation entitled: Negotiating Female Masculinity in the Early Twentieth Century: The Case of Vera ‘Jack’ Holme (1881-1969).
Jenna said: “My dissertation explores the role played by clothing in the construction of a visible masculine identity by some lesbian women in the first decades of the twentieth century. By using the case study of Vera 'Jack' Holme (1881-1969), as member of the Women's Social and Political Union, chauffeur and member of the Women's Volunteer Reserve during WWI, it is argued Holme sought liminal 'safe' spaces such as the stage, foreign travel and uniformed roles in which to engage with her masculinity, free from the constraints of conservative society.
In exploring why female masculinity was so shocking to conservative society, it is argued that cultural anxieties following post-war disparities of the sexes contributed to a national moral panic.
The judges stated that there was stiff competition from other entrants and that the assessors were particularly impressed by Jenna’s work.
The essay prize includes a £300 bursary from the DHS, one year’s membership of the DHS which includes subscription to The Journal of Design History and a free place at the 2014 DHS conference, Design for War and Peace, University of Oxford, 4-6 September, including a Gala Dinner.
Jenna will be continuing her studies with an MA History of Design and Material Culture starting in September.