Picturing the Woman-Child Cover Image

Picturing the Woman-Child

Fashion, Feminism and the Female Gaze


Morna Laing

978-1-3500-5962-7 (online)
978-1-3500-5958-0 (hardback)
978-1-3500-5961-0 (epdf)
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The childlike character of ideal femininity has long been critiqued by feminists from Mary Wollstonecraft to Simone de Beauvoir. This book examines the representation of women as childlike in western fashion media, and asks why this figure continues to hold appeal to women following three (or even four) waves of feminism.

Exploring the ways in which the childlike model of femininity has cemented inequality between the sexes, Picturing the Woman-Child interrogates the centrality of this model in today’s fashion media. Drawing on British fashion magazines including Vogue, i-D and Lula, and based on original research into audience response, it focuses on how the meaning of childlike femininity has evolved in the years between 1990 and 2015.

Taking us from Lolita to the catwalks of haute couture fashion houses, the book tests out theories on the ‘female gaze’ by inviting contemporary women to comment on images of the ‘woman-child’. Both scholarly and accessible, it paves the way for future studies on how individuals make sense of fashion imagery.