Sex, Lies, and Cigarettes Canadian Women, Smoking, and Visual Culture, 1880-2000

by Sharon Anne Cook

Sex, Lies, and Cigarettes Canadian Women, Smoking, and Visual Culture, 1880-2000 Synopsis

Despite well documented health risks, young women are still drawn to the act of smoking and continue to smoke at an alarming rate. A century ago, women were vocal leaders of campaigns against tobacco across North America. In Sex, Lies, and Cigarettes, Sharon Anne Cook explores the history of the paradoxical relationship between women and the cigarette, in a sensitive and lively description of the many different meanings that smoking has held for women. Focusing on the social context of smoking, Cook explores its allure for elite, middle-class, working, and marginalized women from the late-nineteenth to the early twenty-first centuries. She argues that smoking's attraction is rooted in women's changing identity formation and in strategies for empowerment, an idea enriched through extensive analysis of visual culture. It is in these images (yearbooks, posters, photographic collages, print advertisements, billboards, movies) but also in the act of smoking itself, that women harnessed the power of the visual. Smoking remains a powerful way for women to express themselves and is closely connected to the processes of modernity, sexualization, and commodification of desire. Textual documents (newspapers, magazine features, textbooks, teachers' guides) and oral testimony are also explored to show how dominant discourses of smoking, sexuality, and health have shaped women's experiences and how women have moulded these discourses themselves. The first comprehensive study of women and smoking in Canada, Sex, Lies, and Cigarettes creates a rich portrait of the cultural factors that have resulted in over a century of women smokers.

Sex, Lies, and Cigarettes Canadian Women, Smoking, and Visual Culture, 1880-2000 Press Reviews

...the compelling aspects of this book lie in its analysis of life stories, personal testimonies, memories, and photographs, which are skillfully drawn on to explain the many reasons women have used the cigarette over the last 130 years. It is not just a Attractively packaged, well illustrated, and complete with detailed notes and a bibliography, this first comprehensive study of women and smoking in Canada narrates the evolution of women's smoking from being regarded as sexy, sophisticated, and classy to being seen as selfish, undisciplined, dirty, and irresponsible. CHOICE Cook is able to integrate massive amounts of research [into] a wonderful narrative that convinces the reader that an inanimate object - the cigarette- has played a major role in the gendering of social practices and Canada's cultural landscape. This book is a must read. Pat Gentile, Carleton University

Book Information

ISBN: 9780773539778
Publication date: 11th April 2012
Author: Sharon Anne Cook
Publisher: McGill-Queen's University Press
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 446 pages
Categories: Cultural studies, Personal & public health,

About Sharon Anne Cook

Sharon Anne Cook is Distinguished University Professor at the University of Ottawa.

More About Sharon Anne Cook

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