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Subject: AEJ 99 PribaniE ADV Automobile advertising and gender views, 1920-40
From: [log in to unmask]
Reply-To:AEJMC Conference Papers <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Fri, 1 Oct 1999 05:53:16 EDT
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Submitted to the 1999 paper competition of the AEJMC National Convention

Declaration of Independence
D
riving Toward Equality:
Automobile Advertising and Gender Views,
1920-1940

by
Erika J. Pribanic
Graduate Student, University of Alabama

9566 East Idlewood Drive
Twinsburg, Ohio 44087
(330) 425-4771
[log in to unmask]

Driving Toward Equality
D
riving Toward Equality: Automobile Advertising and Gender Views, 1920-1940


Introduction

        Automobiles have long been considered a masculine area.  In Taking the Wheel,
Virginia Scharff wrote, "The automobile was born in a masculine manger, and when
women sought to claim its power, they invaded a male domain."[1]
 This theme is often parodied in the modern television sit-com Home Improvement:
the car is powerful, dirty, masculine, and off limits to women.[2]

        The automobile's inherent masculinity reaches back to the Victorian age, when
women were considered too feeble-minded and frail-bodied to even leave their
homes, let alone drive automobiles.  The outside world was considered too
volatile and filthy for the delicate female.[3]  Conservatives of the day were
alarmed even when women took to bicycling in the 1880s and '90s; it was seen as
unladylike and even immoral.[4]
        Once the automobile arrived, the conservatives' alarm grew.  According to
Scharff, women were considered sinners for "trying to grasp the modern pleasure
of automotive speed."[5] Further, women were seen as "deficient" to handle the
wild, fast, dirty gas-powered automobile.[6]
        Nevertheless, automobile manufacturers saw the female driver as a viable
market.  When the first American woman obtained her driver's license in 1899,[7]
 automobile advertisements began to appear that targeted women.  According to
Judann Pollack, "the industry has zeroed in on women, using pitches from feat to
fashion and just about everything in between to win the nod from women."[8]
  How do automobile advertisements geared towards women between 1920 and 1940
reflect the dominant gender views and issues in America during that time period?
        For the purpose of this study, gender views and issues are defined as the
position of women in society, how society regards women, and how women regard
society. As some scholars suggest the automobile was considered a masculine
product.  It is thus significant to note how advertisers of that product
appealed to women, particularly at such a critical time in women's history.
Further, in gauging the relationship between the automobile advertisements and
the dominant gender views and issues, this study will show how much advertising
truly reflected society.  It will also aid in the understanding of how
advertisers themselves viewed women both as consumers and as drivers.
Through an examination of some of these advertisements, this study will analyze
the words and images advertisers used to target women between 1920 and 1940.
With the assumption that advertisements serve as a reflection of the society
that produces them, this study analyzes how automobile advertisements targeting
women reflected the dominant gender views and issues in America.
        The period between 1920 and 1940 was chosen mainly because of its position at
the dawn of automobile advertisements in women's magazines.  Although
automobiles had been manufactured for over two decades, automobile
advertisements for women were sparse prior to World War I.  Previous scholars
have noted an explosion of automobile advertisements in women's magazines in the
1920s.[9]  Scharff explains that gender lines were redrawn by the war, causing a
shift in business strategy.[10] World War II temporarily halted the production
of automobiles and consequently the printing of automobile advertising.[11]
This lull in material presented a good end point.
        That period was also an interesting time for gender views and issues.  During
the 1920s and '30s, many political and economic changes spurred movement among
women in the political arena as well as in the job market.  These two decades
saw tremendous turbulence as sex roles were transformed and women fought their
way into the public.[12]
While general interest magazines have carried automobile advertisements
targeting women, the easiest way to ensure that the automobile advertisements
under study were meant to appeal to women is to study advertisements in
publications read primarily by women. Specifically, the automobile
advertisements in Ladies' Home Journal, Good Housekeeping, and Vogue were
analyzed. These magazines were selected based on their total circulation.[13]
Popular publications among women at the time, these magazines represent
periodicals aimed both at the average woman and at the elite.
        Ladies' Home Journal, a product of Curtis publishing, was the first magazine to
reach a circulation of one million, a feat it accomplished in 1903.[14] By the
end of 1919, the Journal had reached a circulation of two million.  The
publication's popularity made it an attractive choice for advertising during the
1920s and '30s.  At times the magazine boasted more than a million dollars worth
in advertising per issue.[15] As previous scholars have noted, automobile
advertisers were among those advertising in the Journal at the time.
        The Hearst magazine Good Housekeeping flourished in the 1920s and '30s as well,
attracting a loyal following with the establishment of the Good Housekeeping
Institute. A home magazine in the pattern of Ladies' Home Journal, Good
Housekeeping would only advertise products with the Institute's Seal of
Approval.  This offering credibility to those that advertised in the pages of
Good Housekeeping, [16]  including automobile manufacturers.
Conde Nast's Vogue exerted a powerful influence over the fashion-minded American
woman of the 1920s and '30s.[17]
   Aimed at the women of high society, Vogue dominated the fashion magazine
industry and drew large advertising revenues with advertisements emphasizing
glamour and luxury,[18]
  which previous authors have suggested were common appeals used in automobile
advertising.

Review of the Literature
Automobile advertising and women
        Although several works have mentioned automobile advertisements and women, few
scholars have attempted to tackle specifically the subject of automobile
advertisements geared toward women.  For this reason, this review contains
mainly literature on automobile advertising in general, miscellaneous
advertising targeting women, and the subject of women as drivers. Because little
has been done on automobile advertising between 1920 and 1940, some literature
on advertising of earlier times has been located in hopes that examining the
precursors would shed some light on the era under study.
        Previous literature offers a broad view of automobile advertising in America as
well as advertising to women.  A pattern emerges from the work of previous
authors.  First of all, women intruded on a male domain when they began driving
automobiles.  In the early 1900s, women were seen as inferior in their abilities
to operate the automobile, and those who did drive were seen as unfeminine.
Secondly, automobile advertisements depicted the car as a glamorous status
symbol, reflecting the prosperity of the roaring '20s, and became more practical
with the Depression years.  Overall, women were commonly portrayed as
housewives, although the advertisers often depicted the automobile as a vehicle
for liberation.
Several authors point to traits of automobile advertisements that suggest the
inferiority or threatened femininity of women.  At first, women were pictured
solely as passengers, but once Pope Motor Car Company began targeting women with
advertisements for the Waverly in 1905, others followed suit.   Waverly, along
with Paige, Overland, and Cadillac, were shown to offer women convenience and
gratification[19] as advertisers targeted women with advertisements that focused
on ease of operation. [20]   In addition, the automobile industry drew an early
gender distinction between electric and gas-powered automobiles: the tamer,
quieter, cleaner electric car was recommended for females while women were
discouraged from driving the masculine gasoline automobiles. [21]  The eventual
failure of the electric car was seen as a slight relaxing of gender lines as
both sexes showed preference for the more powerful gasoline version.[22]  In
general, advertisements targeting women offered only the most simplistic
mechanical information, if any.  Advertisers saw the car as a machine that women
could admire and enjoy, but only men could fully understand.[23]
A focus on status and appearance in the 1920s appears throughout the literature.
Early ads emphasized style and performance of the vehicle. [24]  A sense of
luxury also pervaded as advertisements of the 1920s showed ordinary vehicles in
magnificent settings. [25]  Automobiles provided the big opportunity for
advertising to reveal itself as a force in American society by convincing the
ordinary family that they too could enjoy such a luxury. [26]   Particularly in
advertisements targeting women, glamour became a selling point.[27]
The majority of previous literature demonstrates the liberation tactics used by
some advertisers, while the image of woman as homemaker remained prominent.
Advertisers were quick to realize women's influence over the family budget,
which extended to automobile purchases.[28]
  In the 1920s, women's magazines attracted more automobile advertisements than
they previously had, many of these ads specifically targeting the married
homemaker who would do the bulk of her driving for shopping and her children.
[29]
  The housewife image became more liberal as the advertisers portrayed the
automobile as freeing women from the prison of their homes in that the
automobile allowed the housewife the liberty to do what she would otherwise be
unable to do.[30]
  For some women, taking the wheel was a political statement; driving offered
liberation from society's notion of women as frail beings that had no place on
the streets. [31]
  As automobile manufacturers recognized the need to use different appeals
according to age and class, advertisers varied their appeals such that some
advertisements focused on women as mothers/homemakers and others targeted female
professionals. [32]
  These tactics elevated the automobile to a symbol of women's increasing public
role.[33]


Gender Views and Issues
        To gain a full understanding of the position of women between 1920 and 1940,
literature on gender views and issues has also been reviewed.  This literature
reveals several trends occurring during the period under study, all surrounding
the emergence of women into the public sphere.  These trends include changing
occupational roles, increased political activity, and a break from the social
norms, particularly among college-age women.
Previous literature indicates that occupational roles of women changed
drastically between 1920 and 1940.  The essence of feminism in the 1920s and
'30s was the reconciliation of the desire for love and family with the desire
for work of her own.[34]   Reverence for home and respect for the housewife
decreased in the 1920s, offering less empowerment for women based on the sacred
domestic duty. [35]  Families had fewer children in the 1920s and '30s.[36]
This combined with the increase of paternal participation in raising the
children relieved the mother of some time spent in childbearing and rearing.[37]
In addition, new technologies made household chores more efficient and allowed
time for other things.[38]  In the face of the ensuing devaluation of the
housewife, she defended her domestic profession by comparing it to managerial
jobs. [39] Meanwhile, the development of the factory system led to the increase
of women's work outside the home.[40]  However, a wife's occupational
opportunities remained limited by her lack of mobility because of her husband,
although opportunities increased with the use of machinery because workers
needed less skill and training. [41]  The Depression that ushered in the 1930s
elevated the woman both at home and in the public sphere.  Women's family roles
expanded as they sought outside employment to support their families through the
hard times.  Later, women were able to replace men who left to fight in World
War II.[42]   However, this dislocation from the home was not based on the
acknowledgement that women had the same right to or capability for public
service as men, and by the end of the crises many women reverted back to their
domestic roles. [43]
        The increased political activity many authors discuss relates in part to the
increase of women in the workplace. Controversy ensued when the National Women's
Party introduced the Equal Rights Amendment, fighting for occupational equality
between men and women.  These interests clashed with those seeking protective
legislation for women who endured unpleasant working conditions.[44]  In these
and other matters, the working-class woman of the 1920s and '30s often advanced
public womanhood despite the lack of interest on behalf of her middle- and
upper-class sisters[45]  as working-class women were more mobilized during World
War I, World War II, and the Great Depression.[46]   In general, the most vital
area for organized action by women remained within volunteer work and clubs.
[47]  Women's organizations multiplied between World War I and World War II.
These organizations, which previously provided a social outlet for women,
shifted to political purposes. [48]  Women also increasingly participated in
political parties, holding seats at conventions and appointments to official
positions. [49]
Social norms also became more fluid during this time period. The 1920s saw the
birth of new feminism as women rebelled against Victorian notions of morality
and decency.  The "flapper" epitomized this movement, wearing short skirts,
dancing outrageous dances, smoking, and drinking.  Young women began to pursue
careers instead of husbands.[50]  Those who did marry expected an equal
partnership in place of the previous expectation of female subservience.[51]
These factors shaped feminism in the 1920s as women fought for "freedom of a
woman to decide her own destiny, free of traditional sex roles, free to exercise
her individual conscience and judgment."[52]

        Previous authors on automobile advertising based their work on the assumption
that advertisements reflect society, a premise that has been adopted for this
study.  These authors show that, in general, the advertisements of automobiles
reflect the economic and social mood of the 1920s and '30s.  The advertisements
of the prosperous '20s portray glamour and luxury while those of the Depression
era stress thrift and practicality.  Some of the reviewed work on advertising
and women also alludes to the gender views and issues, referring to
advertisements touting the liberating qualities of the automobile.
However, literature on gender views and issues show that the position of women
in the 1920s and '30s was complex.  Women gained and lost ground in the work
force as well as in their domestic roles.  Further, women showed influence in
the political arena, earning suffrage and lobbying for other issues.  Some work
suggests, however, that solidarity eluded women as upper classes remained
immobilized.  In previous studies of automobile advertisements and women, the
connections between automobile advertisements targeting women and these gender
views and issues remains unclear.
        Further, most previous literature has focused on advertising aimed at the
general public.  Those that examined women's magazines looked at domestic
publications, particularly Ladies' Home Journal.  While this study also
discusses the homemakers' magazines, fashion magazines are examined as well.

Methods
For this study, a critical analysis was performed on a sample of 275 automobile
advertisements found in three women's magazines from the period of 1920 to 1940:
Good Housekeeping, Ladies' Home Journal, and Vogue.
Preliminary research revealed that these women's magazines would yield an
average of three different automobile advertisements per issue.  To obtain a
target sample of 300 advertisements, 35 issues of each magazine were selected.
To prevent the selection of issues around the same time of year for each volume,
simple random sampling was used.  The span of volumes and issue numbers for each
magazine were entered into a computer random number generator, which generated
the issues to be studied.  Those issues were fairly evenly spread over the
course of the twenty years under study.
The selected issues were scoured for automobile advertisements, yielding 90
usable advertisements from Ladies' Home Journal, 93 from Good Housekeeping, and
92 from Vogue.  These advertisements were critically analyzed to determine how
the advertisements reflected the prevalent gender views and issues in America
between1920 and 1940.
Katherine Toland Frith describes critical analysis as "a problem-posing activity
that attempts to discover the ideological basis for the communication."
According to Frith, critical analyzers see advertisements as reflecting the
dominant ideologies of the societies that produce them.  Advertisements are
analyzed by looking critically at the visual and copy elements and recognizing
how they reflect dominant cultural discourses about things such as gender. [53]
As suggested by Frith, both the images and the words used in each automobile
advertisement were critically examined.  First, two coders classified the words
and images used in these advertisements according to the nature of their
appeals.  Using Holsi's formula, intercoder reliability was found to be .80.
Categories in which the words and images were placed include (A) ease of
operation, (B) appearance, (C) luxury, (D) status, (E) practicality, (F) power,
(G) family, (H) romance, (I) liberation, (J) economy, and (K) mechanics.  These
categories were selected based on the findings of previous scholars and
preliminary research performed for this study.  As each advertisement generally
contained more than one appeal, most advertisements were classified into more
than one category.
 Appeals classified in category A included any verbal reference to the ease of
starting, maneuvering, or shifting the vehicle.  References to ease of braking
or sight were classified in category E.  Few images were classified in this
category unless accompanied by a caption stating the ease of operating the
vehicle.
Category B contained any verbal references to beauty, smartness, glamour, or
other physical features of the car or person driving it.  Images containing
glamourous models or depicting the sleek appearance of the vehicle were also
classified in this category.
The third category (C) included any reference to luxurious features of the car,
such as roominess and comfort.  Terms such as richness were also classified in
this category.  Images depicting comfort and relaxation (most widely represented
by a sleeping child or other reclining passenger) were classified in this
category.
Verbal appeals and images included in category D concerned the social status of
the driver.  Pictures of the vehicle or people in an environment suggesting high
society warranted classification in this category.  Terms such as pride and
prestige were included in this category as well.
Practical appeals appeared in category E.  Such appeals included references to
safety, dependability and durability, in addition to verbal and visual appeals
suggesting the use of the vehicle for tasks such as shopping or taking children
to school, etc.  Category F contained verbal appeals and images referring to the
speed, power, and endurance of the vehicle.
Appeals connected to family were classified in category G.  These appeals
include any verbal reference to family (children, husband, parents, etc.) as
well an any images depicting family scenes or children.  The romance category
(H) included any verbal references to love or romance and images depicting a man
and woman together in a romantic setting.  These were widely represented by
wedding scenes.
Any references to liberation for women were included in category I.  This
included verbal appeals such as freedom from domestic duties, freedom to do what
she pleases, and frequently such phrases as "her own car."  Images depicting
women, particularly in groups, happily driving about were most frequently
classified in this category.  Verbal appeals and images suggesting women in a
professional role were also deemed as a liberating view.  Any verbal appeals or
images suggesting liberation for men were not considered for this category.
Category J contained any references to economy, thrift, value, or low price. All
descriptions or depictions of the vehicles' mechanical features were included in
category K.
Next, the relationship between these categories and the gender views and issues
of the time were determined.  Category A suggests the Victorian image of women
as inferior in that advertisers using these appeals appear to assume that women
are less able to drive automobiles than men and need automobiles that are easier
to drive.  Along the same vein, categories B, C, and H describe appeals to
satisfy what many advertisers deem as the "feminine" urge for romance,
frivolities, and finer things.
Conversely, categories F and K seem to treat women as equal to men, describing
the features seen as masculine.  Category D could also be seen as a more
masculine category as men tend to associate pride and prestige with the
ownership of a good car.
Categories E, G, and I place women in the domestic role, using the appeals of
practicality and dependability (for her domestic tasks), safety of her children,
family, and thrift as the housewife and family buyer.  On the other hand
category I suggests liberation from this domestic role.  Category I could also
be construed as appeals of equality, combined with the masculine appeals noted
above.

Results
Good Housekeeping
        From 1920 to 1929, the majority of automobile ads printed in Good Housekeeping
contained appeals of appearance, status, luxury, and/or power.  Nearly half
contained practical appeals, and 21 to 35 per cent of the ads contained appeals
of ease of operation, family, economy, and mechanics.  Few of the automobile
advertisements in Good Housekeeping in the 1920s contained appeals of romance or
liberation.
        The categories displaying feminine appeals were best represented in the Good
Housekeeping ads of the 1920s.  Masculine appeals were also apparent; and
although liberating appeals made a poor showing during this decade, equality
appeals equaled feminine appeals when masculine and liberation appeals were
combined.  Domestic appeals were not as prominent as others in this decade. [54]
        The composition changed quite a bit in the following decade.  Between 1930 and
1940, practical appeals far outnumbered any other, with luxury and economy close
behind.  Appeals of family, romance, liberation, and mechanics increased,
although less than 15 per cent of the advertisements contained appeals of
romance or liberation.  Appeals to appearance, status, and power diminished by
nearly half; appeals of ease of operation remained steady.
        In this decade, the domestic appeals got a large boost, becoming the by far
most common.  Liberation appeals increased slightly, although they still lagged
far behind.  Since the masculine appeals diminished as a whole, the total
equality appeals took a loss in the 1930s.  Feminine appeals as were about as
prominent between 1930 and 1940 as they were in the 1920s. [55]


Ladies' Home Journal
        In Ladies' Home Journal of the 1920s, over half of the automobile
advertisements contained appeals of appearance, luxury, status, and
practicality.  About a third contained economic, mechanical, and ease of
operation appeals.  Seventeen to twenty per cent contained appeals of power,
family, and/or liberation; only seven per cent contained romantic appeals.
        The feminine appeals led the way by far in the Ladies' Home Journal of 1920 to
1929.  While liberation appeals were more apparent in Ladies' Home Journal than
in Good Housekeeping during this decade, they still were not prominent.
However, masculine appeals were conspicuous in this decade, and equality made a
good showing with masculine and liberation appeals combined.  Domestic appeals
were about as prominent as masculine appeals in the 1920s. [56]
        Like Good Housekeeping, Ladies' Home Journal's advertisements changed
drastically in the 1930s, with nearly all of the automobile advertisements
containing practical appeals.  Economic appeals also soared, and a slight
increase was noted in power appeals.  Appeals of ease of operation, appearance,
luxury, status, and family remained roughly the same, while mechanic appeals
diminished slightly.  Liberation and romance appeals dropped drastically; in
fact, no romance appeals were found in advertisements between 1930 and 1940.
        The Ladies' Home Journal advertisements of the 1930s brought domestic roles to
the forefront and eschewed liberation.  The feminine appeals were almost as
common as domestic appeals.  On the other hand, masculine appeals were not
prominent; when combined with liberation appeals, the equality appeals seemed
less important in the 1930s that they were in the previous decade. [57]


Vogue
        Between 1920 and 1929 in Vogue, a over three-quarters of the automobile ads
contains appeals of luxury and status, with two-thirds appealing to appearance
and about half displaying practical appeals.  Around a quarter of the
advertisements had economic and mechanical appeals; 13 per cent had ease of
operation and power appeals.  Very few appealed with romance or liberation, and
no appeals to family were found.
        Feminine appeals were most abundant in the 1920s Vogue.  Masculine appeals also
appeared conspicuously, even more so than domestic appeals.  Appeals of
liberation were few, although the equality appeals gained were more prominent in
Vogue than in the other two magazines studied at the time. [58]
        Large differences were noted in the automobile ads of Vogue from 1930 to 1940.
No category of appeals really stood out in that decade, appeals of luxury and
status having dropped to around half of the advertisements.  Fifty-six to
fifty-eight of the advertisements appealed to ease of operation, appearance, and
mechanics, showing a slight decrease in appearance appeals and a marked increase
in ease of operation and mechanical appeals.  Drastic increases also occurred in
appeals of family and liberation.  Power and economic appeals also increased
slightly, while practical and romance appeals remained the same.
        Feminine appeals again appeared most prominent in the 1930s, although the total
equality appeals were not far behind.  Liberation appeals gained ground in this
decade, while masculine appeals remained steady.  Although domestic appeals
increased, they still remained less prominent than the others between 1930 and
1940. [59]


Discussion
        Over all, the automobile advertisements in women's magazines of the 1920s were
rife with feminine appeals, with equality appeals showing promise and domestic
appeals appearing most prominently in the home magazines.  In the decade that
followed, the home magazines and the elite fashion periodical diverged.
Feminine appeals remained most abundant in the fashion magazine, which also had
an abundance of equality appeals.  However, domestic appeals dominated in the
home magazines, in which equality lost ground.
        Regarding women's domestic roles between 1920 and 1940, the image reflected in
the automobile advertisements in the home magazines of the time appear converse
to the situation at the time.  Authors on gender views and issues concur that
the domestic role of women became devaluated by the end of the 1930s, and that
industrialization combined with the impact of war and the Depression drew more
women into jobs outside the home.  However, appeals to the domestic life of
women increased in the automobile advertisements in the home magazines between
the 1920s and the 1930s.  In the fashion magazine, on the other hand, domestic
appeals backslid by the end of the 1930s.  However, this may be partially
explained by the fact that this magazine targeted elite women who likely had
servants to complete domestic tasks.
        In the area of equality, the home magazines gave a relatively accurate
reflection of the times in the 1920s.  With the victory of the suffragists in
mind, the fact that equality appeals were somewhat prominent in these magazines
at the time makes sense.   However, as the lobbyists remained active in the
1930s, particularly regarding equal rights for women in the work place, the
automobile advertisements in home magazines of that decade became less common.
Again the fashion magazine appears converse to the home magazines, offering more
equality appeals in the 1930s.  This fact particularly opposes the idea that the
upper-class women were less mobilized for the women's cause than those of the
lower and middle classes.
        One would not know that women were breaking free from the social norms during
the period under study by looking at the automobile advertisements in the
women's magazines of the time.  The Victorian notion that women were expected to
be proper appears in the feminine appeals used in these advertisements.  That
these appeals were most prominent in all three magazines studied during the
rebellious era of the 1920s seems converse to expectations.

Conclusion
        Noting the inherent masculinity of the automobile, this paper sought to examine
automobile advertisements aimed at women between 1920 and 1940.  Previous
authors on automobile advertising showed that automobile advertisements
reflected the general economic and social moods of the time while occasionally
promoting the automobile as a liberator of women.  Literature on gender views
and issues illuminated the complexity of women's situation during that period,
including the domestic, political, and social views and issues.  With that in
mind, this study aimed to analyze how automobile advertisements targeting women
reflected the dominant gender views and issues in America between 1920 and 1940.
        The predominant appeals varied among magazines in each decade under study.
Appearance and status dominated Good Housekeeping and Ladies' Home Journal in
the 1920s, while practicality dominated in the 1930s.  Luxury and status
pervaded in the 1920s Vogue; appearance, mechanics, and ease of operation in the
1930s.  The automobile advertisements in these magazines generally did not
reflect the dominant gender views and issues of the times.  For the most part,
however, Vogue appeared to give a closer representation of the reality among
women than the home magazines did, although even the reflection in Vogue was not
completely accurate.
        A possible explanation for this phenomenon is the fact that men, not women,
were responsible for the creation of a majority of automobile advertisements.
It is possible that men were not aware of the views held by women.  Thus the
women in these advertisements were portrayed as men saw them.  The men most
likely created the advertisements according to how they believed women felt and
what they believed women wanted.
        Another explanation involves the genres of the magazines themselves.  As home
magazines, Good Housekeeping and Ladies' Home Journal were apt to publish
advertisements that followed with the theme of the magazines themselves: that
housekeeping was a respectable job for a woman to hold.  These magazines may
have promoted the domestic role of women even as that role lost value.
        A major limitation of this study involves the availability of magazines from
the time period.  More insight could be gained from examining more fashion
magazines of the time as well as other genres of women's magazines.
 TABLE A (MAGAZINE CIRCULATIONS)[60]


Submitted to the 1999 paper competition of the AEJMC National Convention

Driving Toward Equality


Magazine

Good Housekeeping










Ladies' Home Journal










Vogue (U.S.)











Year
1920

1925

1930

1935

1940


1920

1925

1930

1935

1940


1920

1925

1930

1935

1940



Circulation

   526,368

1,070,927

1,741,640

1,970,310

2,275,808


1,822,577

2,412,688

2,555,996

2,536,069

3,084,120


   122,353

   133,005

   137,899

   141,153

   218,762


Driving Toward Equality

TABLE B (GOOD HOUSEKEEPING, 1920-1929)




Driving Toward Equality
Car Make        A       B       C       D       E       F       G       H       I       J       K

Buick (8)       5       5       6       4       7       3       6       1       1       2       4
Cadillac (11)   2       8       4       11      2       1       0       0       1       1       2
Chandler (3)    3       2       1       1       1       1       1       0       0       0       1
Chevrolet (2)   1       1       2       1       1       1       2       0       1       2       0
Cole (1)        0       0       0       1       0       0       0       0       0       0       1
Dodge (8)       1       5       3       3       6       6       0       0       0       3       0
Fleetwood (1)   0       1       1       1       0       0       0       0       0       0       0
Franklin (1)    0       0       1       0       0       1       0       0       0       0       1
GM (1)          0       0       0       0       1       1       0       0       1       1       0
Hupmobile (1)   1       1       1       0       1       1       0       0       0       1       1
Nash (1)        1       1       1       0       0       0       0       0       0       1       1
Packard (3)     1       3       2       3       1       0       0       1       0       2       0
Studebaker (2)  0       1       1       1       1       0       0       0       0       2       1
TOTAL (43)      15      28      23      26      21      25      9       2       4       15      12
% OF ADS        35      65      53      60      49      58      21      5       9       35      28
Car Make        A       B       C       D       E       F       G       H       I       J       K



Type of Appeals Number of Appeals

Feminine                         68

Equality                         67
   Masculine                    (63)
   Liberation                   (  4)

Domestic                         45

 TABLE C (GOOD HOUSEKEEPING, 1930-1940)


Car Make        A       B       C       D       E       F       G       H       I       J       K

Chevrolet (11)  4       10      8       1       10      3       6       0       1       11      11
Chrysler (4)    3       4       2       3       0       2       0       2       0       3       2
Dodge (3)       0       3       2       0       1       0       0       0       0       3       0
Fisher (9)      0       6       7       3       8       0       3       1       1       2       0
Ford (8)        4       5       4       3       7       3       4       1       2       5       3
Hudson (1)      1       1       1       0       1       0       1       0       0       1       0
Nash (1)        0       1       1       1       0       0       0       0       0       0       0
Oakland (2)     0       1       1       0       2       1       2       0       0       0       1
Packard (4)     4       4       4       4       2       0       2       2       1       2       0
Plymouth (1)    1       1       0       0       0       1       1       0       0       1       1
Pontiac (6)     0       5       4       2       5       2       3       0       0       4       1
TOTAL (50)      17      11      34      17      36      12      22      6       5       32      19
% OF ADS        34      22      68      34      72      24      44      12      10      64      38

Car Make        A       B       C       D       E       F       G       H       I       J       K


Type of Appeals Number of Appeals

Domestic                         90

Feminine                         68

Equality                         53
   Masculine                    (48)
   Liberation                   (  5)



Driving Toward Equality

TABLE D (LADIES' HOME JOURNAL, 1920-1929)


Car Make        A       B       C       D       E       F       G       H       I       J       K

Buick (9)       4       8       6       6       5       2       2       0       2       3       5
Cadillac (8)    3       7       7       7       4       2       0       1       2       0       1
Chevrolet (7)   2       4       3       3       3       0       4       0       2       7       3
Chrysler (5)    4       4       5       5       4       2       0       0       1       2       1
Dodge (6)       1       3       2       0       4       0       4       0       0       3       2
Fisher (7)      0       2       4       4       1       0       0       4       0       0       1
Ford (3)        2       2       0       0       3       0       1       0       3       2       0
Franklin (1)    0       0       1       0       0       1       0       0       0       0       1
Hudson (1)      1       1       1       1       1       0       0       0       0       1       1
Oldsmobile (1)  1       1       0       0       1       0       0       0       0       1       0
Overland (9)    3       7       8       8       5       3       2       0       1       4       6
Packard (8)     4       4       5       6       4       2       0       0       0       1       2
Paige (1)       0       1       1       1       0       0       0       0       0       0       0
Reo (2)         2       1       1       1       0       0       0       0       1       0       0
Star (1)                0       0       0       0       0       0       1       0       0       0       0
Studebaker (1)  0       0       1       1       0       0       0       0       0       1       0
TOTAL (70)      27      45      45      40      35      12      14      5       12      25      19
% OF ADS        39      64      64      57      50      17      20      7       17      36      27

Car Make        A       B       C       D       E       F       G       H       I       J       K


Type of Appeals Number of Appeals

Feminine                         122

Equality                           83
   Masculine                      (71)
   Liberation                     (12)

Domestic                           74

 TABLE E (LADIES' HOME JOURNAL, 1930-1940)


Car Make        A       B       C       D       E       F       G       H       I       J       K

Cadillac (1)    0       0       0       0       1       0       1       0       0       0       0
Chrysler (5)    3       4       2       2       5       3       3       0       0       3       0
Dodge (3)       1       2       2       2       3       1       0       0       0       2       2
Essex (1)       1       1       1       1       1       1       0       0       0       1       0
Fisher (3)      0       0       2       3       3       0       1       0       0       1       0
Ford (3)        0       1       2       0       2       0       0       0       1       2       1
Hudson (1)      1       1       1       1       1       0       0       0       0       0       1
Plymouth (1)    1       1       1       1       1       1       0       0       0       1       0
Pontiac (2)     1       2       2       2       2       1       0       0       0       2       0
TOTAL (20)      8       12      13      12      18      7       5       0       1       12      4
% OF ADS        40      60      65      60      90      35      20      0       5       60      20

Car Make        A       B       C       D       E       F       G       H       I       J       K



Type of Appeal  Number of Appeals

Domestic                         35

Feminine                         33

Equality                         24
   Masculine                    (23)
   Liberation                   (  1)
 TABLE F (VOGUE, 1920-1929)

Car Make        A       B       C       D       E       F       G       H       I       J       K

Auburn (2)      0       1       1       1       0       0       0       0       0       1       0
Cadillac (6)    0       4       5       5       1       0       0       0       0       0       1
Chrysler (5)    2       3       5       4       3       1       0       0       0       1       1
Duesenburg(2)   1       1       0       2       0       0       0       0       0       0       0
Fisher (5)      0       4       4       5       4       0       0       0       0       1       0
Franklin (2)    1       1       2       2       2       0       0       0       1       1       1
Hudson (1)      0       1       1       1       1       0       0       0       0       1       0
Hupmobile (1)   0       1       1       1       0       0       0       0       0       0       0
Kissel (1)      0       1       1       1       1       0       0       0       0       0       1
Lincoln (4)     0       2       3       4       2       0       0       0       0       0       2
Marmon (1)      1       0       1       1       0       1       0       0       0       1       0
Mercedes (1)    0       0       1       1       0       0       0       0       0       0       0
Nash (2)        0       2       2       2       1       1       0       0       0       0       1
Overland (2)    0       1       2       2       0       0       0       0       0       0       1
Packard (3)     0       3       3       3       3       0       0       1       0       2       0
Pierce-Arrow(2) 0       1       2       0       1       1       0       0       0       0       0
Reo (1)         0       0       1       1       0       0       0       0       0       0       0
Ruxton (1)      0       1       1       1       0       1       0       0       0       1       1
Studebaker (2)  0       1       1       1       1       0       0       0       0       2       1
Stutz (2)       1       1       2       2       2       1       0       0       0       0       2
Wills Ste Claire (1)    0       0       1       1       0       0       0       0       1       0       0
TOTAL (47)      6       29      40      41      22      6       0       1       2       11      12
% OF ADS        13      62      85      87      47      13      0       2       4       23      26

Car Make        A       B       C       D       E       F       G       H       I       J       K

Type of Appeals Number of Appeals
Feminine                         76

Equality                         61
   Masculine                    (59)
   Liberation                   (  2)

Domestic                         33
 TABLE G (VOGUE, 1930-1940)


Car Make        A       B       C       D       E       F       G       H       I       J       K

Buick (8)       5       5       4       4       4       2       1       1       3       3       4
Cadillac (3)    1       1       3       3       1       0       2       0       0       0       3
Chevrolet (4)   4       4       3       3       3       3       0       0       0       2       0
Chrysler (4)    2       1       2       2       0       0       1       0       3       2       3
Dodge (3)       0       3       2       0       1       0       0       0       0       3       0
Fisher (5)      2       1       1       1       4       0       2       0       0       0       3
Ford (3)        1       1       0       0       2       1       1       0       2       1       2
Franklin (1)    1       0       1       1       1       0       0       0       1       0       1
Hudson (1)      1       1       0       0       1       0       0       0       0       0       1
Nash (1)        0       1       1       1       0       0       0       0       0       0       0
Lincoln (2)     1       1       1       1       1       1       0       0       0       0       2
Mercury (3)     3       1       1       1       1       0       0       0       3       2       2
Nash (1)        1       1       1       1       1       0       0       0       0       0       1
Oldsmobile (1)  1       1       1       1       0       0       0       0       0       0       1
Packard (1)     1       1       0       0       1       1       1       0       1       0       0
Pierce-Arrow (3)        0       2       2       2       0       0       0       0       0       1       2
Studebaker (1)  1       0       1       1       0       0       0       0       0       0       1
TOTAL (45)      25      25      24      22      21      8       8       1       13      14      26
% OF ADS        56      56      53      49      47      18      18      2       29      31      58

Car Make        A       B       C       D       E       F       G       H       I       J       K


Type of Appeal  Number of Appeals

Feminine                         75

Equality                         69
   Masculine                    (56)
   Liberation                   (13)

Domestic                         43

[1]  Virginia Scharff, Taking the Wheel: Women and the Coming of the Motor Age
(New York:The Free Press, 1991), 13.
[2]  This theme was witnessed in a majority of the episodes of this television
show in a census of the episodes aired in syndication twice nightly on an
independent station out of Birmingham, Alabama, in the month of February 1998.
[3]  Scharff, Taking the Wheel, 3.
[4]  Robert Atwan et. al., Edsels, Luckies, & Frigidaires: Advertising and the
American Way (New York: Dell Publishing Co., Inc., 1979), 151.
[5]  Scharff, Taking the Wheel, 22.
[6]  Ibid., 42.
[7]  Ibid., 25.
[8]  Judann Pollack, "In Fitful Pursuit of American Women," Advertising Age, 8
January 1996, S4-S5.
[9]  Jennifer Scanlon, Inarticulate Longings: The Ladies' Home Journal Gender,
and the Promises of Consumer Culture (New York: Routledge, 1995), 130; Pollack,
"In Fitful Pursuit of Women," S4; Scharff, Taking the Wheel, 130.
[10]  Scharff, Taking the Wheel, 111.
[11]  Tammie Byrd-Howard, "Advertising in The Ladies' Home Journal from
1923-1945," M.A. thesis, University of Alabama, 1991, 58; Michael Frostick,
Advertising and the Motor Car (London: Lund Humphries Publishers Limited, 1970),
105.
[12]  For a detailed discussion of gender views and issues, see the summaries of
works by Breckinridge, Cott, Johnston, and Matthews in the Review of Literature.
[13]  See Table A for circulation figures.
[14]  John Tebbel and Mary Ellen Waller-Zuckerman, The Magazine in America,
1741-1990 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991), 141.
[15]  Ibid., 96.
[16]  Ibid., 103.
[17]  James Playsted Wood, Magazines in the United States: Their Social and
Economic Influence (New York: Ronald Press Company, 1949), 125.
[18]  Tebbel and Waller-Zuckerman, The Magazine in America, 105-6.
[19]  James D. Norris, Advertising and the Transformation of American Society,
1865-1920 (New York: Greenwood Press, 1990), 148-50.
[20]  Frostick, Advertising and the Motor Car, 49; Pollack, "In Fitful Pursuit
of Women," S4.
[21] Scharff, Taking the Wheel, 36-37.
[22]  Ibid., 50.
[23]  Pollack, "In Fitful Pursuit of Women," S4.
[24]  Stephen Fox, The Mirror Makers: A History of American Advertising and Its
Creators (New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1970), 95-6.
[25]  Frostick, Advertising and the Motor Car, 45 and 84.
[26]  Norris, Advertising and the Transformation of American Society, 143.
[27]  Byrd-Howard, "Advertising in The Ladies' Home Journal," 22.
[28]  Catherine Horwood, "Housewive's Choice - Women as Consumers Between the
Wars," History Today, March 1997, 25-26.
[29]  Scharff, Taking the Wheel, 118.
[30]  Pollack, "In Fitful Pursuit of Women," S4.
[31]  Scharf, Taking the Wheel, 4.
[32]  Scanlon, Inarticulate Longings, 106 and 198.
[33]  Ibid., 46.
[34]  Nancy F. Cott, The Grounding of Modern Feminism (New Haven: Yale
University Press, 1987), 180.
[35]  Glenna Matthews, The Rise of Public Woman: Woman's Power and Woman's Place
in the United States 1630-1970, 177.
[36]  Nancy F. Cott, The Grounding of Modern Feminism, 145.
[37]  Ibid., 169.
[38]  Ibid., 162.
[39]  Ibid., 164.
[40]  Sophonisba P. Breckinridge, Women in the Twentieth Century: A Study of
Their Political, Social, and Economic Activities (New York: McGraw-Hill Book
Company, 1933), 99-100.
[41]  Ibid., 104.
[42]  Ibid.; Cott, The Grounding of Modern Feminism, 141; Carolyn Johnston,
Sexual Power: Feminism and the Family in America (Tuscaloosa: The University of
Alabama Press, 1992), 145; Matthews, The Rise of Public Woman, 187.
[43]  Matthews, The Rise of the Public Woman, 187.
[44]  Brackenridge, Women in the Twentieth Century, 99-100; Cott, The Grounding
of Modern Feminism, 120.
[45]  Matthews, The Rise of the Public Woman, 212.
[46]  Ibid., 221.
[47]  Ibid., 178; Breckenridge, Women in the Twentieth Century, 257; Cott, The
Grounding of Modern Feminism, 85.
[48]  Breckinridge, Women in the Twentieth Century, 42.
[49]  Ibid., 275.
[50]  Johnston, Sexual Power, 120-21.
[51]  Ibid., 123.
[52]  Ibid., 132.
[53]  Katherine Toland Frith, "Advertising and Mother Nature," in Feminism,
Multiculturalism, and the Media: Global Diversities, ed. Angharad N. Valdivia
(Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 1995), 187.
[54]  See Table B.
[55]  See Table C.
[56]  See Table D.
[57]  See Table E.
[58]  See Table F.
[59]  See Table G

[60]  Circulation information for this table was found in American Newspaper
Annual and Directory (Philadelphia: N.W. Ayer and Son, Inc., 1920 and 1925) and
N.W. Ayer and Son's Directory of Newspapers and Periodicals (Philadelphia: N.W.
Ayer and Son, 1930, 1935, and 1940).

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