Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Studies

Using Archives to Teach Gender

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All referenced quotes presented on the sidebars in this website are taken from the book Teaching Gender with Libraries and Archives: The Power of Information, edited by Sara de Jong and Sanne Koevoets.

Advertisement – 1960’s – 1990’s ‘The Corporate Image’

Below is a selection of images spanning numerous decades from a variety of sources.
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The first set of images are from an M&S marketing leaflet, date unknown.
The adverts highlight M&S’s on-going responses to social change, as they spot the new market of professional women within the workplace. These outfits combine aspects of ‘masculinity’ with ‘femininity’; for instance, the use of shoulder pads alludes to the presence of powerful, broad shoulders, whilst fitted skirts and tops highlight the curved female silhouette.
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Below is further background information about these resources from the M&S archive.
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“As women continued into higher paid managerial positions during the 1980s and 1990s, M&S responded with corporate work-wear whilst following the trend for shoulder pads.”
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women's buisness clothes

 

women working

corporate women

corporate women

 

buisness umbrella

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The following image is from the September 1976 issue of St Michael News. The title ‘Hands Off’, along with the woman’s reproachful look at the man touching her presumably brand-new M&S, and her rather powerful stance, hints at, and acknowledges, women’s increasing independence and professionalism in society.

hands off

When compared with the following image from the October 1962 issue of St Michael News, M&S’s move to incorporating more ‘masculine’ features into their clothes becomes apparent; for instance, the structure of the jacket below is much less pronounced than those above.

suit 1960s

Click on the images to view them full-size

You may also be interested in videos of M & S advertisements broadcast on television throughout the 20th century. To find out where you can access these videos, click here.

Source: Marks & Spencer Company Archive

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