Women's Magazines
Women's Magazines

The power of cosmetics advertising evolved not only from the potent imagery, evocative language, and personal appeals of the ads themselves, but in the way that they circulated among American women. The turn to national advertising in the 1920s seemed to create and institutionalized synergy amoung manufacturers, advertisers, periodicals, and retailers. This mass media grouping soon saw that fledgling women magazines could maximize both the producer's influence and profit. The big six womens magazines Ladies' Home Journal, McCall's, Woman's Home Companion, Pictorial Review, and Good Housekeeping were responsible for exposing women to more beauty products while also fermenting a consumer consenus.

At first, these magazines gave no attention to beauty in their content, but by the 1930's they became bound in a forced realtionship. In the 1920s most magazines felt that beauty was an inner and natural phenomenon and and that they were too respectable to touch an issue so conterversial. However, by the 1930's they felt the pressure of newspapers and cheap tabloids and began to understand that beauty advice would sell more magazines. Clearly, the lines between advertising and editorial content increasingly became blurred. As more and more women became obsessed with appearance, what to wear, and what to buy, these magazines helped to mold public opinion and its purchases. Soon beauty columnists appeared taunting specific brands and the popularity of their columns spread among all races and classes.

Interestingly, women's magazines and a new consumer beauty culture evolved in a parallel time frame. With this new female identity, each developed a complex and dynamic dependence that still remains today.

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