Multinationals and Gender: Singer Sewing Machine and Marketing in Mexico, 1890–1930

Headquartered in the United States, the Singer Sewing Machine Co. did business all around the world in the early twentieth century. It regularly encountered wars, economic nationalism, and revolutions; in response, it normally created subsidiaries or gave in to expropriation. After the revolution in Mexico (1910–1920), Singer's marketing organization maintained normal operations and even prospered. The company succeeded, in part, by constantly associating the sewing machine with the idea of “modern” womanhood in Revolutionary Mexico. By revealing Singer's marketing strategies and focusing on gender, this article shows that multinational corporations and Latin American governments were not always at odds and could sometimes forge a profitable relationship.