The Struggle between the Domestic and Desire : Bourgeois Women’s Role in the Modern Market
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The Industrial Revolution brought with it changes in manufacturing, advertising and social order, which in turn spurred a consumer revolution that took hold of Paris in the late nineteenth century. This essay examines this culture of consumerism and the anxieties that came with it—in particular, anxieties about the effect that the market had on the moral standing of bourgeois women. Taking a multidisciplinary approach, this issue is discussed in the context of two period works from separate fields, one, an advertisement for “L’Artisan Moderne,” created by Toulouse-Lautrec in 1894, and the other Emile Zola’s immensely popular novel of 1880, Nana. Through the lens of these two works we can see two different views of female consumers from a nineteenth-century standpoint. This essay then draws on the work of present-day historians to explore changes in the marketplace that occurred during this period, including new methods of advertising and the development of department stores, as well as accounts of how men viewed women in the context of these changes and speculations as to why women behaved the way they did during this period. Examples from Nana and the “L’Artisan Moderne” poster are integrated to illustrate and reinforce these points.
Lucerna, Volume 8, Number 1, pages 100-111