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Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

Consuming Modernity

Gendered Behaviour and Consumerism before the Baby Boom

Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

Consuming Modernity

Gendered Behaviour and Consumerism before the Baby Boom

Positioning consumer culture in Canada within a wider international context, Consuming Modernity explores the roots of modern Western mass culture between 1919 and 1945, when the female worker, student, and homemaker relied on new products to raise their standards of living and separate themselves from oppressive traditional attitudes. Mass-produced consumer products promised to free up women to pursue other interests shaped by marketing campaigns, advertisements, films, and radio shows. Concerns over fashion, personal hygiene, body image, and health reflected these new expectations. This volume is a fascinating look at how the forces of consumerism defined and redefined a generation.

304 pages


Table of Contents

Introduction: Consuming Modernity / Dan Malleck and Cheryl Krasnick Warsh

Part 1 – Consumerism as Politics, Practice, and Ideology

1 Canada’s Consumer Election (1935) / Bettina Liverant

2 Consumer Culture and the Medicalization of Women’s Roles in Canada, 1919-39 / Tracy Penny Light

3 Selling Lysol as a Household Disinfectant in Interwar North America / Kristin Hall

4 Medicine Advertising, Women’s Work, and Women’s Bodies in Montreal Newspapers, 1919-39 / Denyse Baillargeon

5 Annie Turnbo Malone and African American Beauty Culture in the American West / De Anna J. Reese

Part 2 – Consumerism and Public Display

6 Women, Identity, and Sports Participation in Interwar Britain / Fiona Skillen

7 Aesthetic Athletics: Advertising and Eroticizing Women Swimmers / Marilyn Morgan

8 Shades of Change: Suntanning and the Interwar Years / Devon Hansen Atchison

Part 3 – Modern Girls

9 Beauty Advice for the Canadian Modern Girl in the 1920s / Jane Nicholas

10 (En)gendering a Modern Self in Post-Revolutionary Mexico City, 1920-40 / Susanne Eineigel

11 The Argentine Modern Girl and National Identity, Buenos Aires, 1920-40 / Cecilia Tossounian

Part 4 – Texts and Ideologies of Modernity and Consumerism

12 Protecting Gender Norms at the Local Movie Theatre: The Heidelberg Committee, 1919-33 / Kara Ritzheimer

13 Guilty Pleasures: Consumer Culture in the Fiction of Mary Quayle Innis / Donica Belisle

Selected Readings; Contributors; Index

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