How Does The Representation Of Women Change Between 1930-1960 On The Covers Of Vogue?

How Does The Representation Of Women Change Between 1930-1960 On The Covers Of Vogue?
The perception of women has changed in the last century, because of the changes in the economy, lifestyles and the home. I am going to find out how women have changed between 1930 and 1960 and the effect Vogue has had on women?s lives.

Vogue has not only contributed to the acceptance of trends in the fashion and beauty industry, but in addition has become a reward in the changed in cultural thinking, actions and dress of women. Vogue is the world?s most influential fashion magazine, first founded by Kelly Trepkowski, writing on art, culture and politics. Vogue is regularly criticized, along with the fashion industry it writes about, for valuing wealth, social connections, and low body weight over more noble achievements from its inception in the late nineteenth century to the present.
The history of the 20th Century showed abrupt shifts to more radical and conservative lifestyles, with the Great Depression in the 1930s to the Swinging Sixties because of the libertine attitudes that emerged. Women slowly won back their rights as citizens, as in 1948 Cambridge University finally bowed to the public pressures and admitted women to its degrees and then 1950-1960 saw women teachers, bank managers and TV newsreaders. The struggle in those 30 years had a great impact on women across the world, and I believe may have changed the perception of women.

The fashion prior to the 1930s was more elegant, demure and expensive. With vogue issuing patterns within the magazine so women could have clothes tailored to their specific wants and needs. Fashion was very important to women at that time, with upper class socialites wanting the new trends and the latest in fashion accessories. This is what Vogue had to offer the women, as well as bridal fashion ranges. The covers were also related Sports and Leisure breaks for the upper class women and their husbands. Vogue helped to create the ideology of the ?lady at leisure?.

There have been many cultural changes to women?s lives in the last one hundred years. After the euphoria of the twenties, the 1930s were a less vibrant decade for women, seeing the depression, which meant that all women were encouraged to return to their homes whilst men returned to jobs that were becoming scarce. All their roles and responsibilities were taken away from them; the economy could not deal with the growing number of men returning to work. Any women who married therefore gave up her right to work. This meant women had to spend more time at home doing the domestic jobs that would normally be considered the women?s ?job?.

Then the 1940s saw women take back former responsibilities during World War Two, with the introduction of posters and adverts promoting the women?s right to work and showing women in power, with such phrases as ?we can do it?. This was such an inspiration to many women as they felt wanted and needed, having to uphold the duties of the men during a very turbulent and testing time meant women could be proud of their achievements. During the beginning of the war Vogue still aimed all their issues at the upper class women, even though all women were at work together. This was not necessarily a bad part on Vogue, as it meant they could still try to establish a connection with their existing readers, and create a normal balance to detract from the traumas of the war.

The covers of vogue have changed dramatically between 1930-1960. Photography was not widely used in magazine editing; many magazines opted to present the latest in illustrations. The illustration would show and represent what the issue is about, many of the issues were related to women at leisure and also sporting activities they could participate in. All the illustrations were very Picasso like, with minimal colourings and there wasn?t a defined Vogue typeface. In 1933 (6th September) Vogue saw the first use of photography on the covers, mainly models presenting the latest in fashion and accessories. However the use of supermodels in Vogue didn?t come about until the late 1960s with Twiggy as their main ambassador.

Prior to the late 1940s Vogue did not have a defined typeface to their brand, it would usually be the production of the illustrator, free hand work and normally wouldn?t be the most important piece of information on the magazine cover. In 1942 the typeface you see today was first introduced, however it didn?t remain until the late 1940s. I think this is because after the war many women became dedicated and loyal readers of the magazine, branding became a lot more important into the 1950s.

During World War Two, Vogue reused illustration in their work on the covers; this mainly was due to the fact many women had to go into industry for work. The war had a very large impact on ladies fashion; resources and money were limited meaning the demand for high quality fashion was reduced. Vogue therefore aimed their magazine at women during the war as a ?self help guide?, the August 1943 issue was a ?Beauty and Younger Generation Self Help Guide? telling women where they could find many of their cosmetics that they would not longer be able to find in the shops due to the war. Also they were told how to make some of their own makeup if they were unable to purchase or locate any more. I thought the most influential issue of Vogue aimed at women during the war was April 1940, as Vogue women were instructed on how to handle welcoming back their husbands home for leave from war: ?he likes to spend some evenings quietly at home; comfortable chairs; easy, idle talk. You in a dress with a sweeping feminine skirt and gentle colours: Worth?s dinner dress ? the skirt in linen, blue, pink and magenta; the bodice in lilac angora discreetly banded with amethyst stones and sequins.?

Feminism comprises a number of social, cultural and political movements, theories and moral philosophies concerned with gender inequalities and equal rights for women. The history of feminism consists of three waves; the first and most relevant to my studies would be between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Many activists were concerned with issues such as a woman?s right to bodily integrity and a woman?s right to abortion, access to contraception; a woman?s right for protection from domestic violence, against sexual harassments and rape. Women were widely discriminated against, especially in the work place with matter such as maternity leave and equal pay. Many of these issues only related to women in middle class statuses however it did still impact those women Vogue targeted their magazine at, as they still were not able to work.

Laura Mulvey is best known for her essay, ?Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema? written in 1973 and published in 1975. Her article was one of the first major essays that helped shift the orientation of film theory towards psychoanalytic framework. Mulvey was concerned with the feminist attitudes throughout film, she intended to make a ?political use? of Freud and Lacan?s studies, using their concepts to argue that the spectator was in a masculine subject position, using the figure of the women as an object of desire. Linking this theory to the representation of women between 1930-1960, women have always been considered the inferior race to men, men would go out and collect food and money to bring home to their wives.
Mulvey shows that women are seen as feminine, this she does not agree to, however looking at the covers of Vogue it is a true statement that from a male perspective women seem to be only concerned with feminine issues. Vogue aims its magazines at the women who are still only concerned about living up to the masculine ideas of beauty, presenting themselves in the latest of fashions and sex appeal, even during those times.

In summary I believe Vogue has influences changes to the representation of women all across the world. With the abrupt shift over the 1930s with all women?s roles and responsibilities taken away from them through to World War Two when women had to go back into the workforce. Vogue allowed these women to preserve their needs as women, showing them the latest in fashion and living designs, but also aiding in their lifestyle recoveries during this test in time. Through the ages women have developed and the covers of Vogue show that they to have developed as well. On the other hand it cannot be proven that Vogue is the main cause for the change in representation of women between 1930-1960, however through analysing the covers it is clear that they change their views on women. Especially during the war when men had to return back to work and women had to take their place in industry, gradually during their positions as women. I think Vogue shows their dramatic changes over the 30 years, and continues to, to this day.

How Does The Representation Of Women Change Between 1930-1960 On The Covers Of Vogue? 9 of 10 on the basis of 3726 Review.