Observed | Essays

Selling Shame

Images via Collector's Weekly and Do I Offend?

We often wonder what future generations will think of our current society and one can only hope we won't be judged by the advertising of the day. Or at least that if we are, it won't seem as remarkably offensive as the ads collected by Southern California artist Cynthia Petrovic. Collector's Weekly interviewed the artist about her collecion of vintage body-shaming advertisements geared toward women, Do I Offend?
One vintage ad warns women, “Don’t let them call you SKINNY!” while another promises that smoking cigarettes will keep one slender. If the task of morphing their bodies into the current desirable shape isn’t enough of a burden, women are also reminded that they stink.

In these vintage ads, a woman may be emitting a foul odor from any body part — her armpits, her mouth, her hair, her hands, her lady parts — but she never knows it until her husband is walking out the door, suitcase in hand. And what about her skin? According to such ads, she might drive that man away with her so-called coarse pores, old mouth, tan lines, zits, wrinkles, middle-age skin, hairy legs or lip, visible veins, or horror of all horrors, dishpan hands.
Read the full article here.

Posted in: Arts + Culture, Business, History

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