Emily Westkaemper

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Selling Women's History

Packaging Feminism in Twentieth-Century American Popular Culture

Rutgers University Press

Assessing a dazzling array of media from the 1900s to the 1970s, including advertisements, films, magazines, and greeting cards, Selling Women’s History reveals how popular culture helped teach Americans about the accomplishments of their foremothers. Emily Westkaemper examines how Madison Avenue co-opted women’s history, using it to sell everything from Betsy Ross Red lipstick to Virginia Slims cigarettes. But she also shows how pioneering adwomen and female historians used consumer culture to publicize histories ignored elsewhere. Their feminist work challenged sexist assumptions about women’s subordinate roles. 

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