"Selfish, Foolish, and Crazed: Imagining the Female Shopper in Modernizing Canada"
MetadataShow full item record
Shopping became a major Canadian pastime between the late 19 the century and World War II. During the same period, stereotypes of female shoppers as vain, greedy, and impressionable came to assume prominent roles within Canadian public commentary. Critics from a range of backgrounds suggested that women's supposed love of finery, preference for mass retail, and quests for cheap goods caused not only small shop closures but also local decline, dilution of cultural standards, unemployment, and national debt. Through an exploration of fictional and non-fictional portrayals of shopping women published in Canada between 1890 and 1940, this talk will reveal that when women left their homes to pursue mass retail’s offerings, they transgressed expectations of feminine domesticity, local authority, and middle class taste. For these reasons, those who wished to uphold male and bourgeois privilege in this country felt it necessary to lampoon, condemn, and ultimately dismiss the economic, social, and cultural concerns of thousands of female consumers.