© 2020

Italian Women's Experiences with American Consumer Culture, 1945–1975

The Italian Mrs. Consumer


Part of the Italian and Italian American Studies book series (IIAS)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiv
  2. Part I

  3. Part II

  4. Part III

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 163-163
    2. Jessica L. Harris
      Pages 165-190
    3. Jessica L. Harris
      Pages 191-218
    4. Jessica L. Harris
      Pages 219-226
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 227-235

About this book


This book analyzes the spread of American female consumer culture to Italy and its influence on Italian women in the postwar and Cold War periods, eras marked by the political, economic, social, and cultural battle between the United States and Soviet Union. Focusing on various aspects of this culture—beauty and hygiene products, refrigerators, and department stores, as well as shopping and magazine models—the book examines the reasons for and the methods of American female consumer culture’s arrival in Italy, the democratic, consumer capitalist messages its products sought to “sell” to Italian women, and how Italian women themselves reacted to this new cultural presence in their everyday lives. Did Italian women become the American Mrs. Consumer? As such, the book illustrates how the modern, consuming American woman became a significant figure not only in Italy’s postwar recovery and transformation, but also in the international and domestic cultural and social contests for the hearts and minds of Italian women.


American consumer culture Italian consumer culture Post-War Italy Italy and United States mass consumerism cultural consumption studies Femininity American Beauty and Italian Women Fascist Italy Arnoldo Mondadori Editore American department store model in Italy

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.St. John’s UniversityQueensUSA

About the authors

Jessica L. Harris is currently Visiting Assistant Professor in the History Department of Allegheny College, USA, and will be joining St. John's University as Assistant Professor of History. She is a scholar of Modern Italy, Black Europe, 20th century U.S. and the World, and African American History. Jessica has held fellowships at the University of Toronto, Canada and Oxford University, UK. Her work has appeared in Modern Italy, Imago. Studi di cinema e media, and Carte Italiane.

Bibliographic information