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: “My Ideal Sales Girl”

Marks and Spencer. 1955. My Ideal Sales Girl. St Michael News. 16th September,  p. 5.

St Michael News reflects on what makes an ideal sales girl with Jack Hylton, a tycoon of the retail industry. Vivacity, personality and an interest in the job are essential for women to make a good impression to customers, according to the interviewee. Courteous attention to the customer’s needs, gaiety and prettiness are also identified as preferable traits for the sales worker. This feature is an interesting characterisation of the salesperson in the 1950s, a characterisation which is unmistakably gendered.

Note also the ways in which representations of gender intersect with those of nationality, with Hylton comparing American, French and English women.

SMN Sep 16 1955 p. 5

Click on the image to view full-size.

Source: Marks & Spencer Company Archive

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