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 Department store start emancipation women?

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Posts : 2397
Join date : 2012-01-01
Location : Belgium

PostSubject: Department store start emancipation women?   Sat 26 Dec 2015, 21:59

Saw the day before yesterday a documentary about seemingly the first real department store in the world: "Le Bon Marché"...I knew already the stores Bon Marché in Belgium from my early childhood.
First and as long as it is available and for those who understand French: the documentary:

And Emile Zola studied the phenomenon at the Bon Marché itself and made a novel about it...

And an introduction in French about the film:

And the story of the Bon Marché

I did  some further research about the history of department stores in the world:


And when you start with the question of the first department store in the world you end if you can believe the BBC it started in Britain:

But here it is stated that it was indeed the Bon Marché:

And now about the subject:
And I found no summary in French nor in English, perhaps some hints in the last link that I provided here above...
In the documentary it was said that the women in the 19th century were boxed up in their houses. They were under the tutelle of their men and they could only leave with a chaperonne.
With the department store Aristide Boucicaut created among other innovations the opportunity for woman of the middle class to go outside in all decency and to spent in the department store area an afternoon without the tutelle of the man and yes to spent some money on their own...
For the emancipation of the working women it was also an emancipation as before single women were many times condamned to prostitution or to go as maid in a middle class household and now in the staff of the deparment store they had a dormitory and earned money on their own that they could spent independentely, what gave them a new feeling of self esteem.
And for instance in the Bon Marché there was already a modern system of social security, perhaps paternalistic but way better than the common circumstances of the average working woman of that time.
BTW: Aristide's wife who lived some years longer than her husband, gave by testament the half of the shares to the employees of the Bon Marché. During her live she also was always busy to better the social status of her women workers.
Not bad for a former goose keepster (herd) (spelling?) if you ask me...

Kind regards, Paul.
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