By Margaret Beetham
Just like the corset, the women's magazines which emerged within the 19th century produced a `natural' concept of femininity: the household spouse; the trendy lady; the romancing and fascinating woman. Their legacy, from anguish aunts to type plates, are simply traced of their sleek opposite numbers. yet do those magazines and their gives you empower or disempower their readers? of Her personal? is a full of life and revealing exploration of this immensely renowned shape from its beginnings. In interesting element Margaret Beetham investigates the needs, photos and interpretations of femininity posed via a medium whose readership was once and nonetheless is sort of solely lady. of Her personal is instantaneously a chronological tracing of the background, a set of exciting case reports and an intervention into contemporary debates approximately gender and sexuality in renowned studying. it's a booklet which someone who's drawn to the original, influential global of the woman's journal - scholars, students and common readers alike - should want to learn
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Extra resources for A Magazine of Her Own?: The Woman's Magazine 1800-1914
The empowering of women as ‘chaste matrons’ was central to the formation of the middle class as distinct from the old aristocracy, who were represented as sexually lax. In the struggle to define ‘the lady’, however, certain elements of the old aristocratic femininity persisted into the new formations of gender and publishing, in particular in relation to leisure and dress. Both were rooted in the material privilege which made possible the life of ‘the lady’, whether aristocratic or middle class.
S. II 1820:198). The argument that intellectual activity was incompatible with women’s moral role was openly articulated in the magazine in the 1830s. Like Mrs Ellis, her contemporary, Mrs Hofland made the case that ‘highly educated women are uneducated wives’, that ‘the preponderance of knowledge as well as power is on the side of the male part of creation’ and that where ‘occasionally’ a woman might ‘have more a talent or more experience… she should use them to help her husband (LM&M VI 1832:32, 317).
These recalled the high-art tradition of female beauty which legitimated the reproduction of draped rather than clothed female figures. As with the aristocratic lady, the reproduction and dissemination of these figures altered their meaning. These processes brought the eroticised female body into public print as art. These plates thus produced beauty simultaneously as evidence of the viewer’s taste, as the defining aspect of ‘the sex’ and as the distinctive quality of particular individuals. This last contradiction is still evident in their late twentieth-century descendants, magazine cover girls.
A Magazine of Her Own?: The Woman's Magazine 1800-1914 by Margaret Beetham