August 2015
Visual Culture & Gender;2015, Vol. 10, p19
Academic Journal
Coinciding with the rise of women's reform movements in the mid-nineteenth century United States, discourses and narratives about and around fashion--particularly women who donned pants--circulated via rhetorical images in print culture. Bloomerites and women who wore pants in public often generated an anxiety amidst the U.S. nation, and in turn reactionary rhetoric sought to suppress such dress, voices, and any transcending of ideological gendered spheres. But gender was not the only social concern; in fact, these reactions often stemmed from concerns of marking social class. Editors of Harper's New Monthly Magazine sought to delimit women's appearance and sustain White middle- and upperclass identity. From an anti-imperialist lens, a semiotic and discourse analysis of two illustrations published in two Harper's issues illuminates the intersection of print culture, fashion, class, gender, and U.S. imperialism. This intersection unveils how U.S. media constructed both a gendered and a classed imperial discourse that influenced material consumption and extended an imperial fashion in the United States.


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