As I was reading Loeb’s “Consuming Angels”, I couldn’t help but to think of I movie that I recently re-watched. It’s a Julia Roberts film called “Mona Lisa Smile” about a woman who accepts an art history teaching job at Wellesley College in the 1950’s. Roberts’ character, Katherine Watson, tries to break down some of the limitations and gender roles that these women face as they are going through school. I remembered one particular scene vividly while reading this piece. During one of her art history lectures, Watson creates a slideshow of advertisements that portray the woman’s role in the household….
The first thing a student says when Watson puts up the first slide is “that’s just an advertisement.” JUST an advertisement? Watson knows, and so do we, that these newspaper advertisements are “a portrait of women.” Whether or not they are accurate does not matter. They may be highly stereotyped, but they do provide a glimpse into this idealized domestic culture. They make use of the woman’s figure and reputation, just as they did in Victorian culture, to appeal to an audience focused on the commercial aspects of domesticity.
Anyway, thought this was an interesting comparison with the Loeb piece..
Happy Halloween everyone!!