The multivalent feminism of The Notorious Bettie Page


Steven S. Kapica

Steven S. Kapica is a PhD candidate in rhetoric and composition at Northeastern University. He has a long-standing interest in feminisms, sexual iconography, and Bettie Page. In 2001, he completed his master’s thesis, “‘The Girl Who Made Good Being Bad’: Bettie Page and American Post-War Ideology,” which explored the life of the pin-up legend and interrogated her images as products of the feminine mystique. His dissertation, currently in progress, examines the rhetorical negotiation of obscenity, specifically in relationship to 1950s pin-up photography, 1970s stand-up comedy, and current public art installations. In May of 2014, he will present his dissertation chapter, “Dirty Pictures, Delinquency and Distribution: 1950s Pin-Ups and the Negotiation of Obscenity,” at the Rhetoric Society of America’s 16th Biennial Conference in San Antonio, TX.

In the fall of 2012, Steven was a visiting lecturer for the Experimental College at Tufts University where he taught a course of his design that paired contemporary rhetorical theory with stand-up comedy. His article What a Glorious Moment in Jurisprudence: Rhetoric, Law, and Battlestar Galactica” is forthcoming in Law, Culture, and the Humanities. A version of “The Multivalent Feminism of The Notorious Bettie Page” was presented at the 2012 Society for Cinema and Media Studies Annual Conference.

Steven maintains the blog Semeiotikos where he writes about television, film, books, and music.