subtle prostitution

Day 6–Edwardian Gibson Girl

  • First appearing in illustrations in the late 1800s, the Gibson Girl was the creation of American artist Charles Dana Gibson. His art depicted the fashionable upper-middle-class society of his time, particularly a certain type of modern young woman.
  • independent, athletic and confident, the Gibson Girl was also pretty and feminine. 
  • The Gibson Girl was important for several reasons
    • she depicted the modern woman, known popularly as the “new women” when women gained independence 
    • had a real influence on the fashions of the time


  • widely considered to be the first “pin-up” girl
  • corseted slim waist figures with soft hair which was piled on the top of the head in a soft chignon style that exuded effortless beauty
  • the Victorian times were dominated by strict codes of morality and were defined by religious practices. Heavy makeup was only really worn by actresses and prostitutes. Subtle, natural beauty was favoured over heavy, obvious makeup
  • pale skin was desired, and symbolized class and wealth