Women clerks (Retail trade) -- New York (State) -- New York -- Political activity -- History -- 20th
Women's rights -- New York (State) -- New York -- History -- 20th century.
This article uses the records of a 1913 moral reform investigation of Macy's Department Store to demonstrate that workingwomen, social reformers, and employers governed themselves and others through intertwined practices and norms of labor, gender, and sexuality. Analysis of these records reveals that workingwomen were important actors in the constitution of these dynamics. The negotiation of what was deemed proper in relation to gender and sex was central to techniques of capitalist management and bourgeois social reform, and also to the work and leisure cultures of Macy's female employees. Examining these negotiations of propriety in a New York department store enriches our comprehension of women as desiring and laboring agents. It also documents how women's cultures of work and leisure hindered feminist and class alliances and directed women's energies into forms of individualism, as well as social hierarchy and regulation, which were conducive to newly developing dynamics of consumerism and heteronormativity.
Women clerks (Retail trade) -- Canada -- Social conditions -- 20th
Consumption (Economics) -- Social aspects -- Canada -- History -- 20th century.
Race discrimination -- Canada -- History -- 20th century.
This article explores Canada's largest department stores' relationships with female shoppers and employees between 1890 and 1960. Showing that these giant retailers made paternalism central to their operations, it explains how they enforced broader hierarchies of gender, race, ethnicity, and class. This article contributes to historical understandings of women's relationships with mass retail by illuminating not only Canadian department stores' treatment of women, but also women's responses to such treatment. It also offers new perspectives on contemporary antiretailing movements by revealing areas of division and solidarity among shoppers and wage earners.
Clothing and dress -- Social aspects -- Ontario -- Toronto -- History -- 20th century.
Consumption (Economics) -- Social aspects -- Ontario -- Toronto
-- History -- 20th century.
Women -- Ontario -- Toronto -- Economic conditions -- 20th century.
Women -- Ontario -- Toronto -- Social conditions -- 20th century.
Identity (Psychology) -- Economic aspects -- Ontario -- Toronto -- History -- 20th century.
Using oral histories, this article explores the consumption stories of a diverse group of workingwomen who lived in Toronto during the Depression. At this difficult time, when men were struggling with exceptionally high rates of unemployment, young women often became family breadwinners. In these positions, they had to balance their desires for clothing with their economic situations, as apparel operated as both a strong indicator of their status, or desired status, and a tool for finding and keeping work. Because of its importance, women often used clothing to assert, construct, and contest their identities. They found ways to fulfill their needs and desires for apparel by purchasing cheap, ready-made clothing, sewing, and consuming—if only through their gazes—the latest fashions.