Immigrant Women And American Consumer Culture

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Immigrant women were susceptible to the American consumer culture as soon as they stepped foot on American soil. One aspect of consumer culture some immigrant women partook in was the consumption of silent pictures, which were accessible to immigrant women who could not speak English. Silent pictures provided immigrant women with exposure to American culture without the necessity for understanding the English language; in this scenario pictures were louder than words. Immigrant women also benefited from silent pictures as being a guide for assimilation into American culture, as films displayed the American way of life. However, the first generation, the mothers would have been resistant to the movies because they did not come from the community or the family; the only two entities the immigrant mother trusted. Elizabeth Ewen in “City Lights: Immigrant women and the Rise of the Movies” states that for the second generation of immigrant women, The price of admission to new culture was the negation of old-world notions of womanhood; needs appeared for clothing, hairstyles, and makeup necessary to assume the external appearance of an ‘American,’ for forms of economic and sexual independence away from maternal authority. The second generation of immigrant women sought to assimilate into American society by changing their appearance to fit with American culture. This made the second-generation immigrant woman a consumer of the latest fashion trends that would help them blend

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