19 Pages

Rebellion, Modernity, and Romance

Smoking as a Gendered Practice in Popular Young Women’s Magazines, Britain 1918–1939
WithPenny Tinkler

An examination of the fiction and illustrations featured in popular magazines, as well as articles and advertisements, reveals that representations of women smoking were employed in the interwar years to convey and develop key gender issues—these were rebellion, modernity, and heterosexual intimacy. Set in the context of the increased prevalence of smoking among women during the 1920s and 1930s, this chapter examines popular young women’s magazines as a means of exploring some of the ways in which women’s consumption of cigarettes was represented as a gendered practice. In the early to mid-1920s, the depiction of women holding or smoking cigarettes was deployed as a symbol of rebellion. This connotation derived in part from the specific meanings that were already inscribed in the cigarette relating to gender, social class, and sexuality and the juxta-position and interplay of these meanings with the femininities of fiction heroines.