Listening to Jane Cunningham Croly’s “Talks With Women”: Issues of dress and gender in Demorest’s Monthly Magazine

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Nancy J. Nelson Hodges, Burlington Industries Professor and Head (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: This paper explores how popular women’s magazines promoted change in women’s roles and reform in dress during the nineteenth century. Selected writings about women and dress for Demorest’s Monthly Magazine by its editor, Jane Cunningham Croly, are examined. A journalist and women’s rights advocate, Croly wrote in support of women’s advancement and tied issues of women in society to reform in dress and appearance. A fashion-oriented woman’s magazine, Demorest’s popularity was comparable to that of other such periodicals of the day, including Godey’s Ladies Book. "Talks With Women," a column written by Croly and published in Demorest’s are interpreted for indication of the ways that reform issues were incorporated into the popular press. The framework of gender as a category of analysis within the area of women’s history is used for a discussion of the relevance of Croly’s writings for contemporary interpretations of dress and gender identity. This discussion is structured around the following themes: (a) women and society, (b) women and fashion, and (c) women, dress, and reform. Croly’s perspectives on women and dress were found to be similar to others of her day; however, her ability to make ideas espoused by various reform groups palatable to the audience of a fashion-oriented woman’s magazine sets her apart from her contemporaries in the woman’s magazine industry.

Additional Information

Clothing and Textiles Research Journal, 18(3), 128-139
Language: English
Date: 2000
Women, Dress, Reform, Demorest's Monthly Magazine, Jane Cunningham Croly, "Talks With Women"

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