A Hard Day’s Night and Viva Las Vegas were both released in 1964 and featured stars of unbelievable fame who made fans literally hysterical. However, these films took very different approaches to capitalizing on the fame of The Beatles and Elvis. The stardom of both have some obvious differences, but as Doss discusses in his excerpt from Elvis Culture, they also have some key similarities that may be responsible for their massive fan followings.
Some scholars argue that The Beatles were such an extreme obsession for young girls because of their non-threatening sexuality, which was particularly symbolized through their long, floppy hair. Their physicality suggested a certain level of androgyny, which made young fans more comfortable with admiring them, especially at a time in the development of fans when their relationship with their sexuality was confusing and complex. On the other hand, Elvis displayed his sexuality in a much more aggressive manner with his gyrating hips and clear sex appeal. However, Doss addresses the presence of an androgynous aspect to the image of Elvis Presley as well.
We have also discussed the androgyny of Rudolph Valentino, another huge star amongst the female population. While we have witnessed Marlon Brando’s extreme masculinity as a desirable type of male persona, there seem to be many instances of androgyny going hand-in-hand with huge fame. Harry Styles of One Direction is a contemporary example of this type of mixture of masculinity and femininity, as seen in examples on social media (see below). There seems to be something inherently non-threatening and attractive about an androgynous male star, although traditional masculinity is still consistently reflected in the stars of today.
However, it is interesting to consider the concept of “traditional” masculinity, particularly in consideration of the persistence of the androgyny of a few extremely famous male stars of the past hundred years. Perhaps people require less tradition in their stars than we might think. The fame of Elvis Presley and The Beatles certainly weren’t traditional and we still analyze their fame today.