A Queer History of the United States...So, The Social purist/moralist scored a major victory, for the short run, with the Hays Code and on Broadway, but they overlooked vaudeville. On the vaudeville stage the public still saw images of women that were ''economiclly independent, sexually free, not necessarily heterosexual,'' and who refused to conform to social standards of beauty and femininity. Performers like Eva Tanguay[1878-1947], A.K.A ''the I don't care girl'' and ''the girl who made vaudeville famous'' did not wear corsets and shampooed her hair with champagne right on stage!
Marie Dressler was known for her fat, Irish, working-class persona. She was somewhat open about her real life Lesbian relationships and belonged to a friendship network of Women who loved Women. She was also a suffragette and a co-founder of The American Women's Association, which provided support for professional Women in New York City. Both of these Women were enormously popular on the vaudeville stage and earned more money than most of their male counterparts.
So, the vaudeville stage was an ''oasis'' for progressive forms of creativity, but it was also dying out by the 1930's. The social purist/moralist knew that motion pictures were the wave of the future and would have a much greater impact on society. Marie Dressler[1868-1934] herself ended up in Hollywood making silent era movies and early talkies. So, the ''risque'' antics she performed on the vaudeville stage were no doubt toned down on the big screen.