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Gibson Girls and Suffragists: Perceptions of Women from 1900 To 1918

Gibson Girls and Suffragists: Perceptions of Women from 1900 To 1918

by Catherine Gourley

Editorial Reviews

This five-volume series explores questions of how the popular media of the past portrayed women and whether the images were accurate or misleading. The result is a colorful, visually appealing series with a broad but unique approach to women's history. Although the series addresses common topics like historical events, social issues, and popular culture, it is through the lens of the era's images-pictures, films, advertisements, and cartoons. Gibson Girls and Suffragists begins the series by exploring the images of women in the first two decades of the century. The first chapter focuses on wealthy society women, and other chapters address immigrant and working women and women in vaudeville and early movies. Women of all socio-economic groups are represented, but discussions of women of color are scarce, and their images are almost completely absent. One exception is a sidebar on the vaudeville performer Sweet Mama Stringbean, but without this item, it is as if black and Hispanic women did not exist during this era. Although it is true that their images in popular media might have been scarce, a discussion of this void and the reasons for it would add to the breath and depth of the book. Gidgets and Women Warriors, a later series installment, examines women after World War II. Chapters explore varied aspects of the lives of white women as teens, consumers, wives, mothers, and burgeoning activists. Again little sense is given of what it was like to be a minority woman during these decades; most images and discussions of minority women are confined to the chapter on the Civil Rights movement. This chapter, however, offers some interesting perspectives, discussing women'ssecond-class status in a movement that purported to seek equal treatment for all. Other series titles examine different eras of the twentieth century using a similar format. Images are the focus here and are accorded appropriate status and quality. Text is accessible and interesting for teens fascinated with women's history. Some knowledge of broad historical events will help readers gain a full understanding of the issues discussed, but topics are well covered for those with little background. The series' most obvious weakness is the scarcity of racial diversity, but it deserves a place in most libraries that serve teens. Reviewer: Anita Beaman

Product Details

Lerner Publishing Group
Publication date:
Images and Issues of Women in the Twentieth Century Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Product dimensions:
8.43(w) x 10.14(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

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