KAREN GPALACIOSSPCH 350Prof.
MehrunnisaFinalPaper As our society modernizes it’sforgotten the struggles that the woman used to face in the early 1900’s. Women inthe early 1900’s was to be the “perfect” housewife that was the main goal ofevery woman it was even more important than being a mother. Men looked for ahousewife in a potential spouse in whatever woman who fulfill the role. InCather’s novel Mrs. Forrester’s relationship with Mr. Forrester depicts her asthe model wife. Cather writes that men “…could not imagine Mrs.
Forrester inany dress or situation in which she would not be charming.” (Cather 6). The menin the town have a mindset of how women should look and behave, and Mrs.Forrester was the pure essence of those beliefs.
Wife’s were viewed as propertymore than a person; their sole existence was to serve them”(“Women’s History in America”). On June 4th 1919 the 19thAmendment to the U.S Constitution was passed and woman got the right to vote anAmerica started seeing woman as the “New Woman”.
Women started exploring theirrole in society as beneficial contributorsBy the time woman got the right tovote, America was going thru great changes the economy was at a rise, therewere better wages, less working hours. America was turning into a consumersociety. A new sense of the traditional family was forming in America; Theworking girl image became very popular as well. Women often worked assalesclerks, secretaries and telephone operators. The “flapper” image was alsopopular, a strong economy and a new sense of morality is what made this periodthe “Roaring Twenties”. A new generation of women was starting, issuessuch as women’s suffrage, women in the work force, and hope of equality beganto rise in the air in world overpowered by men. America viewed woman as strong independent andequal to men everyway. Critics compared their ideals to that of men with thedrinking, smoking and sexual experimentation they took part in.
Flappers pushedthe envelope for social norms of woman flappers. “I pay our woman so they candress attractively and get married” – Henry Ford, single woman were consideredworking woman.Manufacturers, distributors, andretailers realize significance of using their advertising to target woman. Adswere designed and published to speak primarily for women, not that in thepreceding years ads were not for woman. The ads speak to house wives, sayingthat they have a wide variety of products to choose from. Ranging from a polishto protect her floor wood and furniture, dusting pads and mops that, accordingto their ad “reduce cleaning, dusting and polishing to almost nothing”.
Agood illustration of the life of women early during those days can be seen inthe advertisement O-cedar print ad year 1900 (fig. 1 below). Thisadvertisement reflects the stereotypical depictions of women as a “HappyHomemaker”, apron-clad and committed mothers portrayed in self-promotional ads. Strathmore Paper company publishedin the periodical “Appealing to Women in Advertising”; fifty percent of alladvertising appeal and targeted women.
In addition, Hill notes that a number ofsources suggested that 85 percent of all manufactured consumer goods werepurchased by women in the early nineteenth century. The concept in theStrathmore paper ad also reflects a fundamental change in advertising at thistime. By 1920’s marketing techniques for targeting women become sophisticatedand effective. Advertising helped convert a population of homemade products toconsumers of mass-produced goods. With the growing inventions of new productsand services, women also were the dominating consumer population.
Self-promotionalads by agencies began to emphasize that they understood the target marketing,and that the most important target for advertising was women. The idea oftarget marketing to women and using the images of women in various print adseven became a theme used in consumer ad campaign. According to Charles DanielFrey, author of the poetic ad in the Hollow of her Hand expressed that “She isthe spender of the nation”. Which means that even when advertising was formen’s products, the women must be the goal consumers.
Frey’s ad extended themessage to the manufacturers and advertisers that “whatever they have to sell,the message should be aim at the American women.Consequently, the effects andimpact of this was truly life changing. According to the article History of the19th Amendment, “By the beginning of the 20th century, the role of women inAmerican society was changing drastically; women were working more, receiving abetter education, bearing fewer children, and several states had authorizedfemale suffrage.” It gave women equal authority and control that men had. Itwas a period of confidence and a sense that they could achieve more and thirstfor more liberty in a world where in the past, they were consideredsubordinated and only as a man’s property. The societal relationship betweenthe woman of the house/homemaker and domestic help obviously had shifted. Withthe growth of industrial jobs to attract the young, single, middle class whitewomen and an increase in immigration, a strict distinction between employer andemployee emerged.
Women went not only from homebound producers to wage-earningconsumers but also got involved in political and social reforms in the shortcourse of twenty years. Though these women were not always seen as politicallyproductive by men of their time, many women became successful in theirnew-found roles.The status of women drasticallyshifted from homebound producers to an independent wage-earning consumers. Theyeven succeeded working traditional male jobs and demand more wages andpolitical rights. Clearly, Women’s roles were constantly evolving. Their liveswere shaped by extraordinary events from traditional beliefs, political andeconomic upheavals, religious conflict, and intellectual transformation.Women’s roles evolved from local to widespread, from producer to consumer, andfrom homebound to community oriented.