Popular Representations of Women in The 1880s-1910s Reflection

April 9, 2013 by rt  
Published in Women

Gender discrimination in 1880s to 1910s.

By the 1880s, advertising for magazines and other published works targeted women because of their chief standing in the household. One such publication was Ladies Home Journal, which included advertisements that utilized pictorial representations of the ideal woman in her domestic setting. These advertisements had foundation upon the fact that women at the time stayed at home to oversee the daily chores and economy of the household. Women valued both efficiency and perfection in everything they did to please the husbands. In The Age of Innocence, it is evident that May was in charge of the workings of the house when Newland insisted that she fix the broken lamp quickly.  

            Beginning in the 1890s, advertisements depicted women in a non-domestic setting for the first time. This shows that the role of women in society was changing. They were no longer confined to do household chores, but could spend time with friends outside and enjoy the entertainment like any other man. “A Pair of Silk Stockings” documents this rapid change in society. Mrs. Sommers finally acquires fifteen dollars that are hers to spend on whatever she likes. She decides to purchase a pair of silk stockings to fulfill her long-awaited desire. Traditionally, women would pay for all the necessary household items, such as soaps, food, and sewing machines, but would never spend any money on them. In “A Hasty Lunch”, the women in the background are dressed in the traditional bonnet and blouse with a man by their side. However, the group of young women in the foreground showcases an unconventional clothing choice and looks more carefree in spirit. 

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