Wednesday, June 16, 2010

ModLife: Vintage Sexism: Single Ladies Edition

Vintage Sexism: Single Ladies Edition: "

What do Dorothy, age 25, Beth, age 22, and Hildegarde, age 27, all have in common? Besides possessing “natural charm” and the ability to “dress well, talk well, and dance well,” it is, quite simply, the fact that they are single.


This 1930’s advertisement, which reads, “Isn’t it natural for every girl to want popularity, romance, and a devoted husband?” seems to suggest that, for a woman in her twenties to want anything else is to have something terribly wrong with her. Being single for so long — at the age of 27, Hildegarde over there looks practically ancient — should be a young woman’s deepest fear. Luckily, however, these three ladies don’t need to be afraid of remaining alone forever. All they need is a little Lux detergent, and perhaps some help from some highly informative dating guides…




In this first set of images, circa 1936, we can learn what not to do on a date from this young lady’s mistakes, with winning advice like: “Don’t talk about clothes or try to describe your new gown to a man. Please and flatter your date by talking about the things he wants to talk about.” (See more tips for single ladies here.)



This next dating guide is much more recent, and chock full of useful information! If you don’t want to watch this clip, here is a list of important takeaways:



  • “Some useful conversational pieces include: a book with an interesting title, a small stuffed animal, interesting pieces of jewelry, a pet, a sports jersey, a sports magazine, or a T-shirt with a slogan.”

  • “Research shows that 40% of men suffer from shyness, and 80% of men have been shy at one point in their lives.”

  • “I know a woman who can engage almost any man in conversation, because she knows a lot about sports.”

  • “It’s not what you say, but how you say it when it comes to flirting…get into sync with him by nodding in agreement to what he’s saying.”


Has anything changed since the 1930s? Or the 1980s? Do you think remaining single — by choice or otherwise — is more acceptable in today’s society? Do you think the dating advice offered by these guides is effective or insulting?


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