Sex appeals and wartime messages in beauty and health product advertising: 1941-1946

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University of Alabama Libraries

Health and beauty product advertising from American women's magazines during World War II exhibits a unique combination of sex appeals and wartime messages. Ad campaigns from Ladies Home Journal and Collier's, from the years 1941-1946, were selected and analyzed for their use of sex appeals in conjunction with war-related messages. Ads from these campaigns from 1941 and 1946 were included to compare and contrast the use of these messages. Several trends emerge. Examination of these campaigns shows a distinct trend to idealize enlisted men as romantic partners. Also, the campaigns studied contain messages to address home front issues, such as conservation of materials and labor shortages. After the war's conclusion in 1946, the men depicted in advertising become increasingly civilian as the ads begin to refrain from including war-related messages and themes. At this point in time, these campaigns for health and beauty products in these women's magazines continue to run, but are mostly scrubbed of their wartime context.

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Mass communication