Illustrated soap advertisements in Myra's journal 1875-1912 : hygiene, beauty and class in Victorian England
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The rapid emergence of the middle class in England during the nineteenth century affected many aspects of Victorian society. New social ideals required alterations to what had previously been perceived as correct values, and this era has become infamous for its repression. The new middle classes were especially insecure as to what constituted appropriate behaviour, and so sought guidance from authority figures. Middle class women found this guidance in magazines such as publisher Samuel Beeton's monthly magazine, Myra's Journal of Dress and Fashion. Advice was provided in Myra’s editorial column, “Spinnings in Town,” written by Myra Browne. The counsel was given through clever advertorial plugs written into the monthly column. Social ideals were also communicated in illustrated advertisements via their imagery.Advertisements for commercially manufactured soap were especially significant in recommending proper middle class behaviours and responsibilities. Victorian soap advertisements and recommendations not only sold the product to the consumer, they also created an idea of what constituted middle class behaviour and “sold” that to the willing and eager female consumers. Beauty was a main nonmaterial commodity sold via soap advertisements to the middle classes, and quickly became integral to the creation and maintenance of the middle class female identity. Despite their intentions, acceptance of the concepts of appropriate and actual deportment were not always consistent. Even the purveyors themselves could become susceptible to censure due to the whims of the marketplace, ill health, or awkward social compromises. Such was the case with the house that Beeton built.
DegreeMaster of Arts (M.A.)
SupervisorKent, Christopher A.
CommitteeThorpe, Douglas; Korinek, Valerie J.; Kitzan, Laurence A.
Illustrated Soap Advertisements
Myra's Journal 1875-1912