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: “St Michael Lasts the Whole Day Through”

Marks & Spencer. 1955. St Michael Lasts the Whole Day Through. St Michael News. 7th April, p. 2

The versatility of St Michael clothing is demonstrated in this feature from the internal newspaper in 1955. This piece provides useful insight into changing representations of femininity at this time.  The female model is described not only in the home, tackling traditional housework tasks, but also working, dating and socialising. It is within these early snapshots that we can recognise the identity of women consumers forming.

SMN Apr 7 1955 - p.2

Marks & Spencer. 1955. A Selector’s Job isn’t All Glamour. St Michael News. 7th April, p. 2

Note also this article at the bottom page, which describes the skills, traits and day-to-day of women who work as fashion selectors, emphasising their business-like approach to the job. The typical fashion selector is described as a woman (like “The Sales Assistant“); this is in contrast, for example, to this article on “The Merchandiser” (described as male), which is part of the same series. This hints at assumptions and practices of horizontal gender segregation in workplaces in this period.

 

Marks & Spencer. 1955. Missing Out. St Michael News. 7th April, p. 2

And finally, note the article in the corner, which discusses female employees’ demand to be addressed by their surname, rather than jus as “Miss”.

 

Click on the image to view full-size.

Source: Marks & Spencer Company Archive

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