I was excited to present my paper, The Foundation of American Women’s Fashion Magazines, at Drexel’s Fashion and Media Symposium this past weekend. I most closely studied Godey’s Lady’s Book, Harper’s Bazaar, and The Delineator. The changes and structure these magazines developed during the mid-19th century created a lasting formula that is still relied upon today. For more information on this research, feel free to comment below or email me at FemmeFashionForward@gmail.com.
This beautifully illustrated cover of The Ladies’ Home Journal from January 1897, by Alice Barber Stephens, offers a complex take on the female gaze. We see women on the right, presumable servants and members of the lower class in simpler dark dress looking on at the society women ascending the staircase. We see the society women eyeing up one another, and we see the woman in the foreground staring at the reader. The men in this illustration are insignificant viewers. This illustration is important because there are many arguments for the male gaze in art and film and women viewing other women through a male lens, and this provides an early example of the female gaze. The illustrator of the image is a woman, the magazine is created for a female audience, and the subjects of the image are primarily female.
Continue reading “The Female Gaze”