Reflections from a few readings….
Where the “Bad” Girls Are: Representations of the 1950s Female Juvenile Delinquent in Children’s Literature and Ladies’ Home Journal by Ramona Caponegro
The boy juvenile delinquent prevailed through 1950s pop-culture. Though some issues of the Ladies’ Home Journal feature the girl counterpart. Often, girls who had matured early, were portrayed as overly sexual challengers to authority. Sexual deviance (especially premarital sex) was the primary feature of female delinquency.
I’m curious how these young female delinquents are described in these articles and fiction, and whether themes embedded in the posture exams are reflected. What do their bodies look like? What are their given characteristics? And in the story, what end do they meet.
Hegemonic Female Spaces: An Analysis of the Covert Meanings within Ladies Home Journal and Ebony Magazines’ Advertisements by Kamesha Spates and Jenny Davis
Ebony Magazine, the oldest and largest magazine targeted to African-American consumers was created in 1942 as a reaction to women’s periodicals, like the Ladies’ Home Journal. Magazines like the Ladies’ Home Journal did not promote beauty ideals that included women of color, featuring predominantly white women with straight hair and thin figures. This study compares advertisements from the two magazines over the course of several decades to see whether the enforcement of western beauty standards seeped into media targeted towards a non-white audience. Body type was the only category that was a near perfect reflection.
I’d be interested to compare the articles of the Ladies’ Home Journal and Ebony to see how the authors write about body image and posture.
Moderns or Moms?: Body Typing and Employed Women Between the World Wars by Jane Marcellus
Mrs. Ethel Spalding wrote a couple of articles for the Ladies’ Home Journal that compared women’s jobs, body types, and personalities. In the article “Which of These Girls Are You Like,” a woman was judged to be “original, creative, versatile, optimistic, enthusiastic, cheerful, adaptable, speculative, changeable, and variety-loving” based on her physical features.
Marcellus argues that Spalding’s articles reflect somatotyping theory, which conflated personality with physicality. Spalding connects tall, thin women with modernity and shorter, rounder women with traditional motherhood. Marcellus further explains that in the 1920s women periodical depictions, “the lady of high social class had acquired an elongated neck to accentuate her pearl necklace and her hat, and a body tall enough for the artistic shape of an evening dress.”