French Boys Clothes: Families


Figure 1.--This family scene from the 1960s looks like a boy receiving his birthday presents. Note the small size of the family and the father holding the little girl--suggesting a greater role in caring for the younger children than was the case in the past. Alo notice the informal clothes.

HBC has begun to collect information and images of families around the world. We believe that this helps to put the more individualized photographs of boys into a more complerte fashion and social context. These images not only show what the other menbers of the family (sisters, mothers, and fathers) were wearing, but also the homes and activities over time and of different social classes. Styes not only varied over time, but also on other variables such as social class. Such information is often difficult to discern from individual portraits. While the individual portraits provide more details on the actual fashions they often provide only cluses as to some of the sociological and historical trends which HBC is also pursuing.

Terminology

A French reader thought that it might be a good idea to include in thissection how family members in France refer to each other. In France little children say "manman" to call their mother; and older children say "maman". There are no other words used to call mothers. When speaking the French say "ma mère" or more respectfully "ma maman". The latter is much appreciated by the French. For father there is only one word, "papa" for both little and the big children. When the French speak to their fathers, they say "mon père". Yonger children say "mon papa". There are two words for granmothers: "mémé" (no longer common) and "mamy" which is now widely used. There are also two words for grandfathers: "pépé (no longer common) and "papy" which is now very common. The word bt adding "py" to pa means big father. The much used affectionate way of speaking to children in France is "mon chéri" for a boy and "ma chérie" for a girl. This would translate as "my darling" which is less commonly used for children in English. In French one writes parents as: maman, papa, and parents with a small and the titles with small "m" and "p". Older French families concerning one's own family one writes with respect: mon Papa , ma Maman , mes Parents, mon Père, and ma Mère. All the titles take a macuscline gender gramtically.

Chronology

French families have of course changed significantly over time. The most significant change has surely been the size of the family with moderm families much smaller than was the case in the past. The roles of the father and mother hav also changed. The dominate family patriarch is now more likely to share family decissions with the mother. He is also much more involved in raising the children, especially younger children, than in the past. The family portraits sometimes subtely reflect these changes, but they show very clearly how the fashion styles of the entire family changed over time. One major change has been the increasing informality of family dress, not only the children but parents as well.

Social Factors

HBC believes that family portraits helps to put the more individualized photographs of boys into a more complerte fashion and social context. These images not only show what the other menbers of the family (sisters, mothers, and fathers) were wearing, but also the homes and activities over time and of different social classes. Styes not only varied over time, but also on other variables such as social class. Such information is often difficult to discern from individua portraits. While the individual portraits provide more details on the actual fashions they often provide only cluses as to some of the sociological and historical trends which HBC is also pursuing.

Nannies and Governesses

A French reader suggests including a section on nannies and governesses that wealthy amd even middle-class families hired to help care for children. Often these women were receioved as important members of the family and played a major part in rearing children, especially in the 19th century. Nannies generally cared for the younger children in the nursery and governesses were hired to deal with supervising and educating older children. Depending on the individuals and their relationship with the parents, especially the mother, nannies and governesses might exert some influence on how a child was dressed.






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Last updated: 5:45 AM 8/17/2008