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.

Article – St Michael News: “I Like to be Smart”

Starke, P. 1955. I like to be smart, says Pat Starke. St Michael News. 29th April, p. 2.

In this feature from the Marks & Spencer internal newspaper published in 1955, seventeen year old actress Pat Starke reveals why she loves to shop at Marks & Spencer.

The interview is accompanied with several images of Pat herself demonstrating her busy life, which she feels is reflected by the range of clothing options that the retailer makes for women. This testimonial is interesting as a representation of a woman’s life in 1950’s era, with the undertaking of ‘traditional’ female tasks being not only prominent but celebrated.

SMN Apr 29 1955 p. 2

Marks & Spencer. 1955. To Know Stores’ Needs and Meet them. St Michael News. 29th April, p. 2.

Note also the article at the bottom page, which describes the skills, traits and day-to-day of merchandisers. The typical merchandiser is described as a man; this is in contrast, for example, to these articles on “The Fashion Selector” and “The Sales Assistant” (described as female), which is part of the same series. This hints at assumptions and practices of horizontal gender segregation in workplaces in this period.

Click on the image to view full-size.

Source: Marks & Spencer Company Archive

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