Embodying class and gender
- Publisher: Société française de photographie
In March 1937, when the first issue of Marie-Claire was published, the images of the female body it presented to its female readers from working-class backgrounds contrasted sharply with those featured in previous magazines. The female bodies are dressed and groomed to seduce and replace the hieratic bodies that presented fashions synonymous with membership in the upper classes. The present essay examines this shift and shows that the visual repertoire employed is borrowed from that of the female star constructed by movie magazines. By depicting women as stars, this iconography alters not only the image of the female body but the paradigm of femininity itself. The codes of this new appearance symbolize the social conquests of those who succeed by dint of their beauty, but they also represent women’s reappropriation of their sexuality in a context where the heterosexual couple was being reconfigured on the basis of love.