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The Sex of Things: Gender and Consumption in Historical by Victoria de Grazia, Ellen Furlough

By Victoria de Grazia, Ellen Furlough

This quantity brings jointly the main cutting edge historic paintings at the conjoined issues of gender and intake. In 13 pioneering essays, probably the most very important voices within the box think about how Western societies take into consideration and use items, how items form girl, in addition to male, identities, how exertions within the relatives got here to be divided among a male breadwinner and a feminine purchaser, and the way style and cosmetics form women's notions of themselves and the society within which they reside. jointly those essays symbolize the cutting-edge in examine and writing in regards to the improvement of recent intake practices, gender roles, and the sexual department of work in either the us and Europe.Covering a interval of 2 centuries, the essays diversity from Marie Antoinette's Paris to the burgeoning cosmetics tradition of mid-century the US. They take care of issues reminiscent of blue-collar staff' survival ideas within the interwar years, the anxieties of working-class shoppers, and the efforts of the country to outline women's--especially better halves' and mothers'--consumer identification. Generously illustrated, this quantity additionally contains large introductions and a entire annotated bibliography. Drawing on social, fiscal, and paintings historical past in addition to cultural reports, it offers a wealthy context for the present discourse round intake, fairly relating to feminist discussions of gender.

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This inordinate attention has also been noticed by Penelope Byrde in The Male Image: Men's Fashion in Britain, 1300-1970 (London, 1979). In attempting to display the modesty and sobriety that signified public virtue, aristocratic men created a style in direct contrast with conspicuous consumption. As we will see, throughout the eighteenth century a new aesthetic of upper-class masculinity was defined, whereby upper-class men were to lead society by refined taste rather than sartorial splendor. At the same time, fashion became associated with women and the lower orders, and displaying wealth was no longer equated with displaying worth: gentlemen were called on to lead the nation by setting a moral example rather than by attempting to outspend their extravagant emulators.

The tasks of constitution and representation of family, class, nation, and self through domestic consumption were cumulative rather than sequential. Women continued to be defined as responsible for the social representation of family and class throughout this period but had the projects of making the nation and the self added onto their earlier obligations and possibilities. Contemporaneous with the development of the bourgeois housewife's consuming activities in the 1830s were the elaboration and expansion of two forms of consumption associated with men: collecting and dandyism.

25] For a general discussion of the trope of effeminacy in eighteenth-century attitudes to consumer culture, see Barker-Benfield, The Culture of Sensibility, 104-53. Though Barker-Benfield correctly argues that consumer capitalism created masculinist anxieties about luxury, a reaction to consumer society was only one source among many of the new masculinity. Both by making masculinity a prerequisite to political legitimacy and by claiming masculinity as their own, aristocratic men used the label of effeminacy to directly exclude from power all other men—lower- and middle-class men, as well as men with alternative sexual practices—and to indirectly yet doubly exclude all women from power (by associating femininity with luxury and masculinity with legitimacy).

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