I recently came across an article, Having it All. In France. 100 Years Ago. in the online journal, Slate.com. Seems that we women of the 21st century aren’t the only ones who wish to have it all. In the early 20th century two rival French magazines introduced the concept of the femme moderne. The author Rachel Mesch states, “All of a sudden, women’s progress was not about making demands but about performance and possibility, evidenced by an array of photographs that repeatedly demonstrated the elegant and graceful ways that women were embracing modern roles. This offered women a pleasing, affirming, and celebratory new way to see themselves— both a great feminist strategy and a fabulous way to sell more magazines.” Covers featured female athletes, professionals and mothers, smiling while they work. Today women’s magazines inform us that we can drop two dress sizes, decorate for fall, raise healthy toddlers and have glowing skin, while we start our own companies and create the perfect outfit for only $19.99, all without breaking a sweat (much like the women of the 20th century magazines.) Can we have it all? I would like to think so, but it is a bit more of a sweaty proposition than the covers of these magazines portray.
Posted by: Laura Gross Smith | September 15, 2012