They have never been about empowering women (I realize there are probably exceptions – like Sassy, from what I understand – but I’m speaking about the broad category).

wet.jpg

The text is as follows:

“My husband said I was a wet blanket”

“My husband said I was a regular wet blanket. Always ‘like that’ just when there was a tennis party, or a theatre or some important business function to which we had both been invited. He said I cramped his style and must do something about it. I did. I took two Anti-Kamnia tablets the next time my periodical pains appeared and experienced instant relief. Now I can go anywhere at any time, and by looking my best I do my husband credit.”
There is nothing better than Anti-Kamnia for women who suffer badly from these periodical pains and headaches. It is a unique formula, containing no aspirin, and is especially good for the immediate relief of these distressing symptoms. Cannot affect the heart or digestion, but quickly soothes away all pain. Two Anti-Kamnia tablets are usually sufficient to bring immediate, sweet relief. Just ask your chemist for “A-K” tablets.

Check out more scans from 1950s womens mags HERE.


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27 Comments

  1. Posted September 12, 2007 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    “Periodical pains” indeed.

  2. Dame Mel
    Posted September 12, 2007 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    Magazines usually don’t hurt me … unless they suck as hard as ones like these. Cosmo, Jane, Elle, Glamour … yeah, I’m lookin’ at YOU!!

  3. Posted September 12, 2007 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    (Jagger/Richards)

    What a drag it is getting old
    “Kids are different today,”
    I hear ev’ry mother say
    Mother needs something today to calm her down
    And though she’s not really ill
    There’s a little yellow pill
    She goes running for the shelter of a mother’s little helper
    And it helps her on her way, gets her through her busy day

    “Things are different today,”
    I hear ev’ry mother say
    Cooking fresh food for a husband’s just a drag
    So she buys an instant cake and she burns her frozen steak
    And goes running for the shelter of a mother’s little helper
    And two help her on her way, get her through her busy day

    Doctor please, some more of these
    Outside the door, she took four more
    What a drag it is getting old

    “Men just aren’t the same today”
    I hear ev’ry mother say
    They just don’t appreciate that you get tired
    They’re so hard to satisfy, You can tranquilize your mind
    So go running for the shelter of a mother’s little helper
    And four help you through the night, help to minimize your plight

    Doctor please, some more of these
    Outside the door, she took four more
    What a drag it is getting old

    “Life’s just much too hard today,”
    I hear ev’ry mother say
    The pusuit of happiness just seems a bore
    And if you take more of those, you will get an overdose
    No more running for the shelter of a mother’s little helper
    They just helped you on your way, through your busy dying day

  4. Posted September 12, 2007 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    To be fair, this is a reason to stop reading women’s mags from the 50s.

  5. TR
    Posted September 12, 2007 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    The point is that they haven’t changed much since then.

  6. kate217
    Posted September 12, 2007 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    Please, I just ate…

  7. Rose
    Posted September 12, 2007 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    I only find myself reading women’s magazines when I go to get my hair done. In 200 pages you’ll find at least 100 articles telling you that you’re: Fat, Ugly, Whiny, and A Lousy Lay. There will be at least 100 ads with products that might somehow fix your overall shittiness, and every 75 pages or so, they’ll be a piece on positive affirmation, like “Look in the mirror and say “I Love You! You’re special” to yourself!

    My guess is that if they didn’t throw that last part in, the women reading the magazine might feel so bad about themselves that they might not want to spend thousands of dollars on products that could improve their subpar looks.

    Next time I get my hair done I’m bringing a book!

  8. Posted September 12, 2007 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    I’m not signing this because I still am doing some work for these magazines, but I did want to say that even if a writer tries to get something body-positive into a major women’s magazine, chances are it will be watered down beyond all recognition.

    I did a piece not too long ago for one of the big women’s magazines on helping develop positive body image in kids. One of the things I mentioned was that kids learn from what their parents do, i.e. if mom is dieting constantly, what are the chances her daughter will escape that cycle? It was one of the first thing the editor returned to me wanting clarification. She asked something like, “Well, should the mother try to hide her dieting from her child?” There was no level on which she was thinking that perhaps the article might be advising women to rethink the constant dieting. Oh no. We can’t have that.

  9. Posted September 12, 2007 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    I bet that stuff was probably benzos.

    I kind of dig her hair, though.

  10. TR
    Posted September 12, 2007 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    The info I have found all points to it being the same thing as this drug from 1900: Antikamnia, which means it was a coal-tar compound, at least half of which was acetanilid, which is related to acetaminophen but more toxic, mixed with codeine and quinine.

  11. TR
    Posted September 12, 2007 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    Anon, that is REALLY interesting. Thank you for commenting.

  12. Posted September 12, 2007 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Anon, hang in there. When my mom started becoming a relatively sought-after writer, she made a unilateral declaration that she was now worth enough that she would never have to write for a women’s magazine again.

  13. Dame Mel
    Posted September 12, 2007 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    Ah, the 50s! The same advertising era that brought us douching with Lysol.

  14. Posted September 12, 2007 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    Vitajex makes you go, go, go! Oops…sorry, just having the obligatory A Face in the Crowd flashback, here.

    Rose, so true! C. and I were discussing recently about the potential prospects of a men’s magazine which constantly told its readership, “Your penis is too small and not hard enough, you don’t make enough money, you don’t have enough hair, and your sons are sissies. But here’s some products that will make you seem like less of a waste of sperm!” We concluded that such a publication wouldn’t last three months.

  15. Eden
    Posted September 12, 2007 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    I generally don’t read women’s magazines (of this sort), but I do occasionally pick them up if I get them for free, and they never make me feel anything but shitty. I just this very second decided that once I have a kid, I will never have one in the house again.

  16. Posted September 12, 2007 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    On a lighter note there are some things to amuse about ancient women’s magazines. I have one in my collection featuring an advertisement for something called The Lady Jayne Slumber Helmet. I’m sure you can imagine what a fetching item that was.

  17. Simone
    Posted September 12, 2007 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    Meowser,

    Spam has already cornered the market on preying on men’s insecurities. My junkmail box is a man’s worst nightmare. And some guy, somewhere, is buying penis enlargers and fake viagara, otherwise the spammers would give up and emails wouldn’t keep coming.

    I find it sad that men are just as susceptible to this type of marketing as women, but even worse that women are attacked in the MSM as a matter of course, whereas men are mostly attacked through shady backdoor marketing.

  18. Dorianne
    Posted September 12, 2007 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    Yearrrggghhh!!!

    But yeah, women’s mags haven’t changed much. Anyone see Cosmo’s latest article on so-called “gray rape?” Yearrrrgghhh!

    My self-esteem finally started shooting back up after I stopped reading women’s mags about 15 years ago. I do like Bust mag tho.

  19. Posted September 12, 2007 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    Meowser – there is a popular magazine out there that’s just as you describe: it’s called Men’s Health. Check it out sometime, it’s damn depressing.

  20. Dutchy
    Posted September 13, 2007 at 12:48 am | Permalink

    What pissed me off foremost in this particular ad, is that it’s totally denying this woman’s right to be herself outside the box of being someone’s wife. It brings out a very angry, very militant feminist in me:
    “My husband said I was a regular wet blanket”. How dare he even utter those words? Try hitting him girl – preferably with a wet blanket (and then he’ll find out just how painful that can be).
    “He said I cramped his style and must do something about it.” “Must”? WTF??? (Actually, I think she’s beautiful, but that’s probably the problem, isn’t it? “I” look worse, so “I” should be even more worried that “I” cramp my husband’s style …)
    “… by looking my best I do my husband credit.” Yes, of course, that’s every woman’s reason for being, isn’t it?
    Now, I totally understand this is from another era (although it’s ONLY fifty years ago, so many years AFTER the suffragettes and the installation of women’s right to vote, to name a few important historical facts), but wow, how those lines rub me the wrong way! Especially when realizing there’s still a lot of women TODAY who live their lives that way: “if only hubby is happy/satisfied, I’ll be fulfilled as a person”. Yuck

  21. Posted September 13, 2007 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    I read Sassy. I loved Sassy. But it wasn’t really an exception to the rule, any more than Jane was.

    It had better writing, more “love yourself” messages, etc. But it was still full of ads about how to be prettier and editorial content about how to be prettier and/or cooler. Personally, I find the “love yourself” message even more infuriating than the “hate yourself” one, when it doesn’t come with any practical solutions for how to do that in a culture that tells you you’ll never be good enough — and instead it comes with ads for nail polish and hairspray and clothes. At least magazines that keep telling you there’s something wrong with you are being honest about what kind of business they’re in.

  22. TR
    Posted September 13, 2007 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    Well, that’s why we’re plotting, Kate. *grin*

  23. Posted September 13, 2007 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    Dutchy, I couldn’t agree with you more. During World War 2, women had a lot of autonomy, particularly in the UK where they pretty much ran the country in their men’s absence .The patriarchy had to fill post-war women’s heads with all this shite, (why, after all that hard graft in the munitions factory, isn’t it lovely to be a little femine helpless piece of fluff again?) just so they could get their old jobs back.

    And, yeah, Meowser, men’s mags are definitely fast catching up – it’s the same shit, only ruder. Everytime I see a copy of Men’s Health there’s some bloke with a prepsterous 6-pack on the front with a headline screeching, “LOSE YOUR GUT!!!!”

    Hey, periodical is another name for magazine right? Guess we just redefined periodical pains then.

  24. TR
    Posted September 13, 2007 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Good call, buffpuff!

  25. Posted September 14, 2007 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    “Especially when realizing there’s still a lot of women TODAY who live their lives that way: ‘if only hubby is happy/satisfied, I’ll be fulfilled as a person’.”

    The thing is, if someone’s committed to their marriage and family, that’s a reasonable criteria for fulfillment, i.e. it need not imply the lessening of one’s self, especially if one’s husband is not an abusive, lamo dolt like the jerk this poor woman’s stuck with. It’s exploiting that dedication, and twisting it so it’s bizarrely linked to mere appearance or *pills* or some or the other blarney-with-a-price-tag that’s the problem.

  26. TR
    Posted September 14, 2007 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    Kell, I can’t really speak for Dutchy, but my interpretation of the comment was that there still are a lot of women who place the gratification and satisfaction of the husband at the top of their list of goals and then don’t add anything else to the list. I totally think that being actively aware and concerned about your partner’s well-being is a good thing, but if that is the sole and defining element of your own self-worth, well, I think that is kind of problematic.

  27. Apricot
    Posted September 15, 2007 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    and every 75 pages or so, they’ll be a piece on positive affirmation, like “Look in the mirror and say “I Love You! You’re special” to yourself!

    My guess is that if they didn’t throw that last part in, the women reading the magazine might feel so bad about themselves that they might not want to spend thousands of dollars on products that could improve their subpar looks.

    Or they might kill themselves, and then they definitely wouldn’t be buying the magazine’s products.

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