Posted by: cotem3sons | November 3, 2012

‘Victorian Consumer Culture’


As I was reading this week’s Victorian Consumer Culture, I realized that today’s advertisements are not much different from yesterdays. There are many modern magazines that host a female audience, such as Women’s World, Glamour, Elle, Allure, Vogue, and many others. These magazines feature anywhere from recipes, to weight loss, to tips on organization. Inside the front cover, there is usually an advertisement for new perfume and it displays images of beautiful women. Depending on the magazine, you will find miracle cures, advice, and of course, many ads for the latest fashion styles and ‘must haves’. When it comes to magazine ‘consumer culture’, I don’t see much difference between then and now. Do you?



  1. You raise an interesting point about what advertising/media deems attractive to the feminine reader. How are the “must haves” of today the same as in the past. Perfume, fitness, and housewares all aimed at the discerning female reader. In what ways is Pinterest and extension of this?

  2. I am actually new to Pinterest, so I am not too familiar with it. Maybe someone else can answer that question you have raised. However, I think the ads do target a feminine audience, such as perfume, etc. Fashion advertising is especially parallel to the past, which is how Fashion Designers earned their reputation and were able to market their designs so effectively allowing them to raise their prices to skyrocketing highs. Magazines such as Vogue have been doing this since the late nineteenth century!

  3. Crazy that typical women’s magazines focus on the body, and so many women spend so much energy and money staying thin, looking beautiful, that we have nothing left over for politics, equal rights, etc. I used to read fashion magazines when I was in my teens / ear;y twenties. When I stopped reading them a curious thing happened. I started to actually like myself and the way I looked. I wasn’t always trying to lose weight or make my eyes appear larger or other crazy things where I would pick at myself.. My self esteem is inversely proportional to the number of women’s magazines I read. I believe that ads are powerful. If you haven’t seen the documentary Miss Representation, I highly suggest it. They had a viewing at the high school I work at and it was powerful.

  4. You raise an interesting observation, one that is a hundred percent correct. The only difference I can see between the advertisements of today and those of the Victorian Era is the amount of skin. Back then, it was all about the parts of a woman’s body that were ever-so-coyly left bare, such as ankles, wrists, and some of the neck. Exposed clavicles were ultra daring. Now, it’s the complete inverse. We are more likely to open up a magazine and see a naked woman with her genitalia artfully hidden under a handful of props, and maybe a touch of Photoshop. It’s a double whammy–more of a woman’s body, with less of it being real. However, the overall effect on women consumers is the same, regardless of era.

  5. I can definitely see the spiritual successors to those miracle remedies in today’s age of youth serums being advertised in magazines. I also believe that the standards of today’s womenly aesthetics have significantly risen compared to the Victorian era, especially with the introduction of photoshopping, and airbrushing. This emphasizes the distortion of the truth in photography that we have discussed during class. Some women feel pressured by certain standards of society that have been designed by a computer. in case anyone has not seen this link, it emphasizes just how one perception of perfect beauty has become completely warped from the natural.

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