WOMEN

AS PORTRAYED IN BRITISH WORLD WAR II ADVERTISING

from Steve Johnson

a brief look at how women were represented in popular advertising in the wartime Britain of the 1940's

pre war, Feb.1937. click on image to enlarge

another Steve Johnson Cyberheritage "content over style" web page. Steve Johnson is a winner of the Devon Heritage award for excellence in out reach historical education.

When I first planned this page, my master plan was to show how the popular adverts of the time had shifted to portray women in a different light. I thought to myself that surely I had seen so many advertising images of women in different situations than that expected in pre-war Britain. I felt sure that these images now showed women at work, adopting a male role, working as an equal alongside men, or even in the front line. Surely I had seen them.

WRONG!

What I had seen, or rather read, were indeed articles about the changing role of women, indeed these articles were well illustrated with photos of the modern woman alongside men. Yes, but not adverts. The images I had recalled seeing were not adverts, but editorial features. When it came to the adverts.....welll....see for yourself.

I will not add my impressions of them, as I expect and rather hope that you will have your own. The ones picked here represent 1940 to 1945 and are taken from various popular periodicals. Sometimes I have included the cover art.

My selection was guided by the ones that I found visually attractive and also touched a point that made me feel...."just look at that would you"....or words to the effect. Some have a deeper message, it may not hit you immediately, but then it might! Enjoy and think, then talk and question.


GALLERY

cover art of Girl`s Own magazine

JANUARY 1945

FEBRUARY 1945

MARCH 1945

MAY 1945

JUNE 1945

JULY 1945

DECEMBER 1945

cover art of Everywoman magazine

APRIL 1942

MARCH 1943

JUNE 1943

cover art of Jaeger knitting patterns

photo taken from article about women operating anti aircraft barrage balloons.(read caption bottom left).....I stand amazed!..just had to say something on this one, this is not an advert either

a VE DAY NEEDLE CRAFT SAMPLER

now the ads themselves:

oxo

Kolynos toothpaste

Phillips bikes

Ovaltine

Ilford film

Phillips bikes 2

oxo 2

Kolynos toothpaste 2

Phillips bikes 3

Phillips bikes 4

Acme mangle

Kolynos toothpaste 3

Cadbury`s Bourn-Vita

Gala lipstick

Sparva fabrics

Dig for Victory

California syrup of figs

Solidox toothpaste

Stork margarine

Sparva fabrics

Dettol disinfectant

Russian women

Wrights coal tar soap

Lifebuoy soap

Tangee lipstick

A-K tablets

Erasmic soap

Odol toothpaste

Horlicks

Icilma vanishing cream

Swallow raincoats

Fretwork saws

Cadburys Bourn-Vita 2

Wincarnis wine

Caley`s chocolate

JOAN Bull and Weston biscuits

ODO-RO-NO

Cadburys Bourn-Vita 3

Zixt soap

Mrs. Peek`s Puddings

Homesun health lamps

Glymiel jelly

Propax tablets

Knights Castile soap

Red Cross and St. John Fund

John Knight`s family health soap

Fry`s Cocoa

Cadburys Bourn-Vita 4

ODO-RO-NO 2

TCP

Colgate dental cream

Cadburys Bourn-Vita 5

Zixt soap 2

Vim cleaning powder

Mrs. Peek`s pudding 2

Rendells feminine products

Palmolive soap


....and what about after the war, the 1950`s? Let`s look at "Girl" magazine from 1953.

I want to be .......DOCTOR, SPORTS MISTRESS, MARKET GARDENER, HAIRDRESSER

with the current situation here in the UK of slave labour rates for may womens jobs, 2.50 per hour....or often less, it somehow seems that women have gone backwards from these days when women appeared to be upwardly bound....just my opinion.

In "Girl" comic were also features and letters aimed at the "modern young woman"....just look at these, I really can`t see any young woman of today either seeing these photos and saying "wowwww....must put that on the wall in my room".......or when reading these "agony Aunt" letters saying "yeahh....me too, know how she feels!

GIRL AND DANE? .........QUEEN ELIZABETH AND SUSAN?

LETTER 1...(have a good close look) LETTER 2