Synopses & Reviews
From the Gibson Girl to the flapper, from the vamp to the New Woman, Carolyn Kitch traces mass media images of women to their historical roots on magazine covers, unveiling the origins of gender stereotypes in early-twentieth-century American culture.
Kitch examines the years from 1895 to 1930 as a time when the first wave of feminism intersected with the rise of new technologies and media for the reproduction and dissemination of visual images. Access to suffrage, higher education, the professions, and contraception broadened women's opportunities, but the images found on magazine covers emphasized the role of women as consumers: suffrage was reduced to spending, sexuality to sexiness, and a collective women's movement to individual choices of personal style. In the 1920s, Kitch argues, the political prominence of the New Woman dissipated, but her visual image pervaded print media.
With seventy-five photographs of cover art by the era's most popular illustrators, The Girl on the Magazine Cover shows how these images created a visual vocabulary for understanding femininity and masculinity, as well as class status. Through this iconic process, magazines helped set cultural norms for women, for men, and for what it meant to be an American, Kitch contends.
[An] engaging, insightful study."" (Library Journal)
For the study of popular culture and its symbiotic relation to feminist history, this book is a major asset. (Martha Banta, University of California, Los Angeles)
Carolyn Kitch's book represents a valuable new way of looking at and understanding the significance of images of women in mass circulation magazines. (Maurine Beasley, University of Maryland at College Park)
About the Author
Carolyn Kitch is assistant professor of journalism and affiliated assistant professor of women's studies at Temple University. She is a former senior editor of Good Housekeeping and associate editor of McCall's.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1. From True Woman to New Woman
Chapter 2. The American Girl
Chapter 3. Dangerous Women and the Crisis of Masculinity
Chapter 4. Alternative Visions
Chapter 5. Patriotic Images
Chapter 6. The Flapper
Chapter 7. The Modern American Family
Chapter 8. The Advertising Connection
Epilogue and Discussion