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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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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 17 April 2021

Rewriting Mrs. Consumer: Class, Gender, and Consumption

Rewriting Mrs. Consumer: Class, Gender, and Consumption

(p.135) 5 Rewriting Mrs. Consumer: Class, Gender, and Consumption
The Adman in the Parlor

Ellen Gruber Garvey

Oxford University Press

This chapter looks at a larger pattern of changes in women's relationship to commodities and their purchase. It shows that as advertisers increasingly defined women as their target audience, advertising-dependent magazines presented their women readers with fiction that encouraged them in their role as consumers. This encouragement took different forms depending on the class of women addressed. Magazines addressed to cash-poor women presented ways to earn money to buy advertised goods and helped to justify their purchase, while suggesting that such consumption could be consistent with their values of thrift and moral responsibility. Magazines addressed to middle-class women, on the other hand, discouraged autonomous work for married women and encouraged them to seek fulfillment in shopping and the emotional caretaking of their families. These magazines valorized the apparent power available to women as shoppers through courtship stories that were allegories of shopping, and which featured women choosing wisely between offered choices.

Keywords:   magazine advertising, fiction, consumption, readers, women, social class

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