There were so many great comments on last week’s Shopperz post…

I thought the conversation about how the creation of department stores (Le Bon Marche started it all!) changed the role of women in society…

“Shopping really came into existence when department stores were invented. The first one was “Au Bon Marché,” built by Gustave Eiffel, mind you. This model was then copied all over the world.

Women could go out alone, without a chaperone, and find all kinds of different items in one place. Boucicaut (the owner of Le Bon Marché) even had toilets installed in his store (which was revolutionary). People of every class and social status were brought together in this first temple to consumerism. Shopping hysteria arrived at the end of the 19th century along with the industrial revolution.

Shopping brought women out of the home, and they started fighting for their rights. The Suffragettes were sponsored by an English department store who advertised in their political pamphlets!

Hey, I’m not far from saying that SHOPPING is what emancipated women!”
– Nath

“According to our friend ARTE: shopping is an activity invented by Mr. Boucicaut, the creator of Le Bon Marché. His ambition was to create an immense store offering everything a woman could ever want to buy…basically, he created the first place where women had the choice, they had a space away from their husbands…in short — ambition, feminism…”
– Zaelle

“There’s a good documentary by ARTE about Bon Marché and the origins of shopping, and it shows how women started leaving the house to spend their days walking around shopping in Bon Marché.”

– Chloe