Kelly Ricciardi Colvin

Dec 22, 2023

Charm Offensive

Commodifying Femininity in Postwar France

University of Toronto Press 2023

In the aftermath of the Second World War, the French government cultivated images of sensual and sophisticated white French women in an attempt to reestablish its global image as a great nation. They promoted the beauty, sexual appeal, and general allure of French women, all while shrinking the boundaries of what was considered beautiful.

Charm Offensive: Commodifying Femininity in Postwar France (University of Toronto Press, 2023) by Dr. Kelly Colvin explores how this elevation of French femininity created problems on both sides of the equation: the pressure on French women to conform to an exacting physical standard was immense, while the inability of anyone else to access that standard resulted in a sense of failure. Drawing on cultural figures like Air France hostesses, tourism workers, and celebrities such as Brigitte Bardot, Charm Offensive offers an innovative understanding of a tumultuous time of decolonization.


This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose forthcoming book focuses on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars.

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Miranda Melcher

Miranda Melcher (Ph.D., Defense Studies, Kings College, London) studies post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with deep analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars.

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