Please join the Ottawa Historical Association on 16 September 2009 at 8pm at Library and Archives Canada, 395 Wellington, Rm. 156. Dr. Sharon Cook, University of Ottawa, will address the topic "Constructing the Modern Canadian Woman Smoker, 1970 - 1990: Cigarettes and Second-Wave Feminism."
Dr. Cook will explore the way in which starting in the late 1960s, smoking by independent, well-educated young women came to be closely associated with second-wave feminism. In previous eras and coupled with other social forces, smoking had given women an air of authority, even insouciance. In the “Age of Aquarius” it served a similar purpose of offering liberated modern women the visual means to telegraph similar types of authority. The alignment of smoking with the women’s movement became a staple of visual culture. Produced about and by feminists, it took hold so firmly in popular cultural products like women’s magazines, advertisements, television and film representations that the dangers of smoking were masked by the powerful cultural messages culminating in the second wave of feminism. Using many of the same techniques that had been honed by the end of World War Two, advertisers and other cultural architects added to the stock-in-trade approaches by presenting the liberated woman smoker as an iconic image for the modern age. This paper explores ways in which feminism became closely linked with smoking between 1968 and 1990.
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