Gender and Space Term Paper

Pages: 2 (744 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Sports - Women

Gender and Space in the Burlington Arcade

The scholar Jane Rendell asserts in her essay entitled "Industrious Females' and 'Professional Beauties'" that when discussing the ways that physical space is 'gendered,' it is common to assume that patriarchy constructs domestic space as entirely 'female' and the public, commercial space of commerce as entirely 'male.' However, one challenge to this set of assumptions can be found in the form of shopping areas, where most employees and customers are female. Rendell examines one relatively affluent district in 19th century London, known as the Burlington Arcade. This area, rather than simply constructed as male, was depicted in the literature of the time as a safe place for females to move freely about, and do their shopping. To deal with the possible social anxiety of blurring the notion patriarchy may have had about the domestic woman entering public space to engage in financial transactions, one popular depiction of the arcade showed "each shop" as "reminiscent of a miniature home, representing gendered images of domesticity and feminine purity," where respectable women presumably went to buy goods from other respectable women to beautify their homes.Get full Download Microsoft Word File access
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Term Paper on Gender and Space Assignment

However, the association of women offering goods for 'sale' also had a shadier side -- arcades were also known as common sites of prostitution. Before it became a shopping area, the Burlington Arcade of the West End was famed as a district where popular brothels were located, because of its proximity to many bachelors' homes. Women as mediums of exchange in financial, sexual transactions, furthermore, Rendell suggests, are not limited to images of shop girls and prostitutes, but even wives and daughters who function as commodities in exchanges between men. To understand the 19th century's cultural associations of maleness and femaleness, Rendell underlines, one must understand London's urban architecture as well as literary or artistic documents of the period.

It is interesting to reflect upon Rendell's observations in light of contemporary culture, where shopping areas are also traditionally configured as female. In malls, grocery stores, and other major commercial establishments, women are often the primary sellers and buyers. Male incompetence at shopping, or male exasperation with shopping as a woman tries on many dresses while the male waits are other common, cultural stereotypes[END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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"Gender and Space."  Essaytown.com.  August 14, 2006.  Accessed January 18, 2021.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/gender-space/78031.