The Mirror: Key Digital Media


“Gibson Girls”

This is a visual of how the women labeled the “Gibson Girls” most have felt about the way they were portrayed, and thought of by men during an era of change. ( Gibson Girl image that appeared in the 1890s combined elements of older American images of female beauty, such as the “fragile lady” and the “voluptuous women”. From the “fragile lady” she took the basic slender lines, and a sense of respectability. From the “voluptuous women” she took a large bust and hips, but was not vulgar or lewd,[1] as previous images of women with large busts and hips had been depicted. From this combination emerged the Gibson Girl, who was tall and slender, yet with ample bosom, hips and buttocks. She had an exaggerated S-curve torso shape achieved by wearing a swan-bill corset. Images of her epitomized the late 19th- and early 20th-century Western preoccupation with youthful features and ephemeral beauty. Her neck was thin and her hair piled high upon her head in the contemporary bouffant, pompadour, and chignon (“waterfall of curls”) fashions. The statuesque, narrow-waisted ideal feminine figure was portrayed as being at ease and stylish. Whilst the Gibson Girls took on many characteristics of the New Woman, she did so without involving herself in politics and thus did not appear to contemporaries at the time to be usurping traditionally masculine roles as the New Woman was deemed to. She therefore managed to stay within the boundaries of feminine roles without too much transgression.

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