Gender, Sex and Shopping

George Severs

To many, shopping is part of the everyday makeup of life which slips beneath the radar. Quotidian and ubiquitous, we may have assumed that shopping and the stores which facilitate such transactions, have a history which fits firmly into the canons of economic history. Whilst there is still doubtless an interesting economic story to be told, last week the Workshop learned more about the fascinating gender and sexuality history of shopping in department stores.

Public interest in the history of department stores is growing. The popular ITV period drama Mr. Selfridge, which detailed the story of Harry Gordon Selfridge and the emergence of Selfridge’s department store on London’s Oxford Street, was well received and brought the twentieth century history of the department store into living rooms across Britain on Sunday evenings.

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