“The magazine wanted to entertain, but it also wanted to improve and educate its readers in lots of ways, and one of its biggest concerns was that very few women had any kind of formal education in the way their brothers, fathers and uncles would have had and so it presented itself as a kind of proxy form of education for women. One of its main arguments was that women are men’s intellectual equal and what they lack is the opportunity to develop and exercise their intelligence, so the magazine is constantly forwarding this argument for women’s education and for women to have opportunities to become the sort of citizens that their sons, their fathers and brothers would be.”
Today I’m joined by academic and author Professor Jennie Batchelor. Jennie has written and edited several books on women’s writing, 18th century dress and early women’s magazines, so I thought Jennie would be a wonderful guest to discover more about how women were perceived in 18th century media and fashion, so I hope you are sitting comfortably and happy to stay with us.
We began our chat with a few points on how the 18th century seems to have set up the world we live in today with the development of media, consumerism, fashion and even ice-cream (00:50), before chatting about how Jennie became interested in 18th century media and fashion (03:40). We then moved on to the interesting subject of The Lady’s Magazine, what its origins were and how it influenced society for many decades after its inception (06:20). Next up we discussed fashion of the time and how it was used in communication, prestige and and standing (24:12), then we talked about the designers and fashion houses of the time (30:00), and the story behind the term ‘inventress’ (32:19). Towards the end of our chat, I asked Jennie about the amount of influence the Church had in the development of fashion for women (35:28), where we can view the original clothing of the time (37:06), and what Jennie is reading and watching at the moment (38:32).
- Jennies website
- Jennie on Twitter
- The Lady’s Magazine archive
- For more, hear my conversation with Clare Mulley, Prof. Pat O’Connor and Dr. Jennifer Cassidy
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