Bicycles, Bangs, and Bloomers
The New Woman in the Popular Press
Patricia Marks's book, based on a survey of satires and caricatures drawn from British and American periodicals of the 1880s and 1890s, places the popular view of the New Woman in the context of the age and explores the ways in which humor both reflected and shaped readers' perceptions of women's changing roles.
Not all commentators of the period attacked the New Woman; even conservative satirists were more concerned with poverty, prostitution, and inadequate education than with defending so-called "femininity." Yet, as the influx of women into the economic mainstream changed social patterns, the popular press responded with humor ranging from the witty to the vituperative.
Many of Marks's sources have never been reprinted and exist only in unindexed periodicals. Her book thus provides a valuable resource for those studying the rise of feminism and the influence of popular culture, as well as literary historians and critics seeking to place more formal genres within a cultural framework. Historians, sociologists, and others with an interest in Victorianism will find in it much to savor.
About the Author
"Provides an exemplum of the ways in which popular culture interacts with social issues."—Studies in Popular Culture
"A helpful, entertaining compendium."—Victorian Periodicals Review
"Helped by her astute commentary, historical analysts of gender will borrow much for their own purposes."—American Literature
"An entertaining glimpse of the power the popular media had at the time in promoting-or stifling-the advancement of women."—Daily Yomiuri
Other Titles in SOCIAL SCIENCE / Women's Studies