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Selling Women's History

Packaging Feminism in Twentieth-Century American Popular Culture

Emily Westkaemper (author)

ISBN: 9780813576336

Publication Date: Nov 2016

Format: Hardback

Also available as: Paperback  

Women's history has a long, colourful history, one that's intimately entwined with the development of American advertising and consumer culture. Selling Women's History reveals how, from the 1900s to the 1970s, popular culture helped teach Americans about the accomplishments of their foremothers, promoting an awareness of women's wide-ranging capabilities.
£74.50

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Women's history only became a serious subject of study in America due to the efforts of feminist academics and activists in the 1960s and 1970s. But the very concept of women's history has a longer, more colorful history, one that's intimately entwined with the development of American advertising and consumer culture.

Selling Women's History reveals how, from the 1900s to the 1970s, popular culture helped teach Americans about the accomplishments of their foremothers, promoting an awareness of women's wide-ranging capabilities. On one hand, Emily Westkaemper examines how this was a marketing ploy, as Madison Avenue co-opted women's history, using it to sell everything from Betsy Ross Red lipstick to Virginia Slims cigarettes. But she also considers how pioneering adwomen and female historians used consumer culture to challenge sexist assumptions about women's subordinate roles.

Assessing a dazzling array of media, including soap operas, advertisements, films, magazines, calendars, and greeting cards, Selling Women's History offers a new perspective on how early-twentieth-century women saw themselves. Rather than presuming a drought of female agency between the first and second waves of American feminism, it reveals the subtle messages about women's empowerment that flooded the marketplace.
Illustrations 10 black & white images
Pages 272
Dimensions 229 x 152
Date Published 30 Nov 2016
Publisher Rutgers University Press
Subject/s Art forms   History of the Americas   Popular culture   Gender studies: women  
Emily Westkaemper is an assistant professor of history at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, USA.

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