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THIS BOOK ARGUES FOR A COMPLEX RELATIONSHIP between gender ideology and the built environment, a relationship that positions the modern downtown created in American cities like San Francisco at the turn of the century as central to changing attitudes about the lives of women. The built environment of San Francisco’s downtown neither directly reflected changing gender ideologies nor created them. Instead, the built and imagined landscapes of the downtown interacted with each other, often harmonizing and at other times conflicting, creating gaps that women negotiated in their everyday use of the downtown. In the 1880s, at the beginning of the story told in this book, only a few discrete public spaces within the city were imagined as female-dominated or female-appropriate: dry goods stores; other shops catering to women; ladies’ dining rooms in hotels; respectable theaters but during matinees only; and streetcars at very particular times of day. In only one generation, the gendered nature of the downtown landscape transformed radically. By the 1910s the larger downtown landscape surrounding the old islands of femininity, as well as many new businesses, were seen as female-appropriate. This was a dramatic change in how the gendered landscape of the city was imagined, a change created through the actions of many individuals , including women who made use of downtown spaces and business owners 169 EPILOGUE EVERYDAY LANDSCAPES who tried out new architectural and business forms to accommodate women without compromising their virtue. Change happened incrementally, as a result of the constant feedback among imagined, experienced, and built landscapes, powered by women’s everyday experiences. Downtown shopping was arguably the vanguard of this change, as middle- and upper-class women ventured into the just-emerging downtown to shop at elaborate dry goods shops and department stores in mid- to late-nineteenth-century cities. These stores created a foothold for women in the new specialized American downtown, initiating the process through which women made large elements of the downtown theirs, whether as elite shoppers or as shop clerks. Most directly, the presence of women in downtown shops necessitated their presence on the streets and on public transportation,turning streetcars into a mixed-gender as well as a mixed-class realm. By the early twentieth century, the presence of women on the streetcars was so normalized as to obviate the need for men to pay them special courtesy. Their presence downtown in shops also led to their presence other places downtown,in tearooms and eventually cafeterias and restaurants for refreshment , and in stage theaters and movie theaters for amusement. As the streets of the downtown became increasingly feminine territory,women could also use them as participants in public celebrations and as suffragists arguing for women’s right to vote. Women also increasingly became part of the downtown when they were not shopping,such as when working in the shops,restaurants,and other businesses that served women, as well as working in clerical jobs in male-dominated offices. Beyond the downtown, similar transformations were taking place in other public spaces as women, including poorer and non-Anglo women, shopped, ate, and went to amusements on local and district main streets. While the activities of shopping, eating out, and entertainment took women of all sorts out of their homes and into public space, the spaces they made their own and the nature of their interactions there were quite different depending on their class and ethnicity. Elite women’s money and status allowed them to negotiate the built landscape more easily, so their experiences more closely matched the imagined gendered ideal. For example, upper-class, American-born, white women’s shopping, eating, and entertainment activities all converged on areas of the downtown off Market Street, areas they visited frequently and with a great sense of ownership. Many of the spaces they frequented were single-gender, and others, such as theaters and downtown cafés, were sorted by class. When they ventured into mixed-gender and mixed-class spaces, in visits to bohemian restaurants, for example, their class position allowed them to remain unsullied. The task of making experience match up with the ideal was more difficult for less elite women, such as Annie Haskell. The stores she could afford to shop in downtown were on heterogeneous Market Street, mixed in with stores serving men; the restaurants 170 Epilogue she patronized served a mixed clientele, so she had to be vigilant if she wished to be perceived as respectable; and her...


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