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Changes of Women’s Roles in Advertising from 1900’s and 1920’s Essay

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Advertising, whether criticized or celebrated, is undeniably a strong force in American society. Portrayals and Images of women have long been used to sell in published advertisements. However, how they have been used has changed enormously throughout the decades. Women have fought to find a lasting and prominent position in their society. Only in the span of twenty years, between 1900’s and 1920’s, the roles of women changed dramatically here in United States.
Early in the process of mass market consumers, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers realize significance of using their advertising to target women. Ads were designed and published to speak primarily for women. In the years preceding World War I, marketing techniques targeting women consumers became increasingly effective. Throughout history, women have always struggled for a recognized place in society. Despite the activities of the Suffragettes, support of the Labor Party and some members of the Liberal Party, women still had very few rights in 1900 and certainly no political rights. During the 1900’s women were still trapped in the “cult of domesticity” (Srivastava). A good illustration of the life of women early during those days can be seen in the advertisement O-cedar print ad year 1900 (fig. 1 below). This print ad speaks to house wives, saying that they have a wide variety of products to choose from. Ranging from a polish to protect her floor wood and furniture, dusting pads and mops that, according to their ad “reduce cleaning, dusting and polishing to almost nothing”. It is obvious that this advertisement reflects the stereotypical depictions of women as a “Happy Homemaker”, apron-clad and committed mothers portrayed in self promotional ads.
According to ...


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...ced back to the changes in society, economy, and politics during the two decades of 1900 and 1920.




Works Cited

Chevrolet. Advertisement. Art.com. n.d. Web. 3 March 2011.
Charles Daniel Frey Company. Advertisement. Google.com. n.d. Web. 3 March 2011.
Delis, Daniel. Advertising to the American Woman, 1900-1999. Ohio State Univ. Pr, 2002. Print.
Friedan, Betty. The Feminine Mystique. W.W. Norton & Company, 2001. Print.
“History of the 19th Ammendment,” essortment Your Source of Knowledge. n. pag. Web. 20 Feb 2011.
O-cedar. Advertisement. Victoriangraceart.com. n.d. Web. 3 March 2011.
“On This Day: 19th Amendment Gives Women Right to Vote.” 18 August 2010: n.pag. Web. 17 Feb 2011.
Srivastava, Swapnil. “The Cult of Domesticity. “Buzzle.com n. Pag. Web. 20 Feb 2011.
Woloch, Nancy. Women and the American Experience: A Concise History. McGraw-Hill, 1996.


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