Advertising, Women, and the Spaces of Change in Wilhelmine Germany
Ostrow, Sonja Gammeltoft
This project examines representations of women in German advertising posters from the 1870s to 1914. I focus on the connection of these gendered images to two spaces at the forefront of social and cultural change in Wilhelmine Germany: the home and the street, the spaces of domesticity and urban discovery. My research confirms the importance of women’s roles in the home in this period, but suggests that these roles should not be narrowly conceived of as old-fashioned and out-of-sync with other developments in German economic and cultural life. Instead, I argue that through consumer imagery, women’s roles in the home were connected to modern innovations in very direct ways. In addition, consumer imagery fostered a female identity constituted by the more liminal space of the modern urban street, one that was intimately connected with transformations in retailing and urban mobility.