Fashion and Eroticism Ideals of Feminine Beauty from the Victorian Era Through the Jazz Age The traditional image of the Victorian woman presents her as strait laced and prudish her clothing an outward sign of her sexual repression and exploitation This situation supposedly persisted until

  • Title: Fashion and Eroticism: Ideals of Feminine Beauty from the Victorian Era Through the Jazz Age
  • Author: Valerie Steele
  • ISBN: 9780195035308
  • Page: 413
  • Format: Hardcover
  • The traditional image of the Victorian woman presents her as strait laced and prudish, her clothing an outward sign of her sexual repression and exploitation This situation supposedly persisted until the Women s Rights Movement and World War I forced the world to acknowledge that women were liberated individuals with legs Yet Valerie steele demonstrates that eroticism foThe traditional image of the Victorian woman presents her as strait laced and prudish, her clothing an outward sign of her sexual repression and exploitation This situation supposedly persisted until the Women s Rights Movement and World War I forced the world to acknowledge that women were liberated individuals with legs Yet Valerie steele demonstrates that eroticism formed the basis for the Victorian ideal of feminine beauty and fashion indeed, that the concepts of beauty and fashion are essentially erotic She shows that, far from being passive sex objects, Victorian women, like their modern counterparts, themselves chose to emulate an erotic ideal as an aspect of their own self fulfillment Even the notorious corset was neither fetishistic nor an unhealthy instrument of torture, she argues, although its comlex and ambivalent sexual symbolism aroused controversy Fashion and Eroticism shows how the New Look of sexy modern naturally from within the pre war world of fashion and not as part of an intifashion movement Steele s conclusions are based on prodigious documentary evidence, including visual and material research, in costume collections in the United States, Great Britain, Europe, and even Japan Fashiona and Eroticism is not only a radical revision of the Conventional understanding of Victorian fashion it is a major contribution to the histyory of women and sexuality.About the Author Valerie steele received her Ph.D from Yale University in 1983, and was the 1984 First Ladies Fellow at the Division of Costume, National Museum of American History, the Smithsonian Institution.

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    One thought on “Fashion and Eroticism: Ideals of Feminine Beauty from the Victorian Era Through the Jazz Age”

    1. The main focus of Valerie Steele’s Fashion and Eroticism: Ideals of Feminine Beauty from the Victorian Era to the Jazz Age, published by Oxford University Press in 1985 and now sadly out of print, is women’s fashions from the end of the Regency period to the beginning to the First World War. Steele argues that there was much greater erotic component (an erotic intent) to the way women dressed in this period than is generally supposed. She is also somewhat sceptical of arguments that women’ [...]

    2. While I found the main ideas of this book to be thought-provoking, I can't rate it that highly for several reasons. The first and biggest is that Steele's arguments become so repetitive that I often felt like I was re-reading the same passage I had before. She is often making fine distinctions of different schools of thought and theories about the reason behind fashion and especially the reasons behind fashion in the Victoria era, most of which she considers to be highly exaggerated and over-pla [...]

    3. Steele's provocative account of feminine beauty is a perfect scholarly accessory for those fascinated by the evolution of 19th century femininity and its cultural, literary and fashion links. She draws on psychoanalytical theory to tease out the eroticism at the heart of Victorian fashion and, indeed, Victorian femininity. She recalls that the great Charles Worth of the Paris fashion house instinctively understood that women liked their bodies, liked being beautiful and therefore created dresses [...]

    4. A marvelous overview of the shifting fashions (and reasons behind them) from the early nineteenth century to the early twentieth. There are excellent examples given throughout in terms of quotes from fashion and moral journalists of the time and pictures of popular garments. The entire thing has a very up-to-date and feminist lens on it which shrugs off the usual patriarchal and Freudian interpretations of female fashion and the shifting erogenous zones. Instead, the book is much more in favor o [...]

    5. This is an intellectually stimulating, highly informative book. While it was written in the 1980s, and concerns mainly dress, fashion and the aesthetics of Victorian culture, many of the arguments, such as one with fashion and gender, are still valid today. Steele's idea that (women's) fashion is not only about attracting admirers and competition, but also about satisfying the aesthetic pleasures of the wearer is both mesmerizing and important. Steele's writing is elegant and scholarly yet very [...]

    6. Heavy reading, especially if you're not super familiar with the Victorian Era Interesting nonetheless, and I did learn a lot, which is the point I guess!

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