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The Adman in the ParlorMagazines and the Gendering of Consumer Culture, 1880s to 1910s$
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Ellen Gruber Garvey

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780195108224

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195108224.001.0001

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Reframing the Bicycle: Magazines and Scorching Women

Reframing the Bicycle: Magazines and Scorching Women

(p.106) 4 Reframing the Bicycle: Magazines and Scorching Women
The Adman in the Parlor

Ellen Gruber Garvey

Oxford University Press

This chapter takes up the question of how advertising and fiction interacted in relation to a single commodity. When the safety bicycle in the 1890s made bicycling accessible to women, wheelwomen found themselves riding through contested terrain. The new mobility that bicycles offered was both attractive to feminists and the target of attack by conservative forces. By working together within the larger framework of the magazine, advertising and fiction made a seemingly threatening new product attractive to potential users. While ads could address a specific manifestation of the threat by promoting a new product like the “hygienic” saddle, the larger issues raised by women's increased mobility couldn't be headed off as easily. Magazine stories took on those issues by rewriting the product's apparent threat to traditional roles. They subsumed the potential conflict within a discourse of consumption.

Keywords:   magazine advertising, fiction, bicycles, bicycling, women

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