The Hilda Neatby Prize English Article
Donica Belisle, “Crazy for Bargains: Inventing the Irrational Female Shopper in Modernizing English Canada”, CHR 92, 4, (December 2011), 581-606.
Donica Belisle’s article is an innovative, engaging, well researched and multi-dimensional study that looks closely at the stereotype of the irrational female shopper in Canada from the 1890s to the 1930s, as constructed by a range of male critics. Belisle clearly and convincingly traces the range of social, economic and gendered anxieties that fuelled male concerns, arguing convincingly that the construction of the irrational female shopper also helped to define rational modern masculinity. This paper also includes a thoughtful discussion of a range of women’s responses to these damaging stereotypes. Belisle’s evidence is impressively diverse, ranging across Canada and between both secular and religious sources. Her paper makes a major contribution to Canadian women’s history and the history of consumption in Canada.