Jul 1, 2011
We're traveling again today, kids. Yesterday we revisited 1951. Now we're jumping forward (or backward, depending on your perspective) to 1972, via the pages of the September 1972 issue of Ladies' Home Journal.
How things had changed between the early Fifties and the early Seventies! Unlike the corseted Fifties glamour girl homemaker, always fresh from the beauty parlor, the Seventies woman was confident, outdoorsy, natural. Yet despite womens lib and the pill, the Vietnam war, political assassinations, and race riots, she was still desperate to kill household germs!
Looking at these magazines side by side, a few big differences stand out to me. I'm counting on you to point out some of the ones I've missed.
1) Advertising -- whether for lipstick or floor polish -- is no longer set in the context of glamour and romance. It's no longer about being a queen for your king, looking enchanting, bewitching or even lovely. By 1972, many of the beauty ads are provocative and frankly sexual.
Lipstick is now "Wet. Wicked." A Love-brand beauty ad proclaims, "This is love in 1972."
Advertisers are no longer hawking the latest Hollywood glamour treatment. In fact, looking like a Hollywood starlet is out.
Whereas in 1952 a discreet single-column ad for Tampax asked "Do you feel timid and uncertain about the the facts of monthly sanitary protection?" (with no illustration or photo), in 1972 there are more than five full-page, full-color ads for menstruation-related products -- the tone celebratory and shame-free.
Even in a mattress ad, women are in pants and (thankfully) out of the kitchen (and even the house)!
2) The gee whiz!, triple-exclamation-point-ed, most-amazing-appliance-ever! tone is gone. Products are usually pictured front and center, often alone, and the ad copy is straightforward. No more miracles, alas.
Shag carpeting, along with ethnic inspiration, is everywhere.
3) There's still a little sewing, but no ads for sewing machines.
4) The liberated Seventies woman wears her hair long and applies very little makeup. The focus on perfect grooming is a thing of the past. The new role models are "career girls" like Mary Tyler Moore, Sandy Duncan, Peggy Lipton, and Denise Nicholas -- the only black woman in the magazine but still a sign of progress.
Nobody wears dresses, btw. It's all about separates (and knits).
5) There are still many food ads and recipes, but the popularity of canned food seems to have passed, and the Seventies homemaker looks more like an ordinary woman (as opposed to Loretta Young or Donna Reed).
6) Suddenly, there are cigarette ads --eleven pages of cigarette ads -- and booze. The Seventies woman had her vices.
Women now wore pantyhose and didn't have to be photographed in a cocktail dress to advertise them.
Friends -- and I'm assuming some of you remember the Seventies first-hand -- have I missed anything?
Comparing this 1972 issue of Ladies' Home Journal to yesterday's 1951 issue of Woman's Home Companion, what are some of the other big changes you notice -- or experienced yourself?
Do you think women's magazines have changed much since the Seventies? If so -- whether in the ads or the articles -- how?
You can see many more photos from the September 1972 issue of Ladies' Home Journal here.
Photos from the October 1951 issue of Woman's Home Companion are here.
Happy Friday, everybody!