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Ladies of Labor, Girls of Adventure Working Women, Popular Culture, and Labor Politics at the Turn of the Twentieth Century cover
  • ISBN: 9780231111034
  • ISBN10: 0231111037

Ladies of Labor, Girls of Adventure Working Women, Popular Culture, and Labor Politics at the Turn of the Twentieth Century

by Nan Enstad

  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publisher: Columbia Univ Pr
  • Publish date: 06/01/1999
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Description
At the beginning of the twentieth century, women labor leaders routinely chastised young, female workers for their ceaseless pursuit of fashion, avid reading of dime novels, and "affected" ways, including aristocratic airs and accents. While the leading organizers feared that consumerist tendencies made these women frivolous and dissuaded them from political action, these women, in fact, went on strike in very large numbers during the period, demonstrating alternative political styles and identities. Examining a range of popular material, including early dime novels about ordinary women who marry millionaires, serial motion pictures featuring the hair-raising adventures of working-class heroines, and inexpensive, ready-to-wear clothing that allowed women to both deny and resist mistreatment in the workplace, author Nan Enstad analyzes how working women wove popular narratives and fashions into their developing sense of themselves as "ladies". While consumerism itself did not make these women into radicals, it did allow them to shape their culture and their identities as both workers and political actors.
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