30 Dec

How many times have women experienced abuse without naming it so? Confidentiality protects the predator not the victim, transparency validates an absence of guilt. TURN THEM IN!

11 Dec

Where there is smoke there is fire…

Emily L. Hauser - In My Head

http://www.radcliffe.harvard.edu/news/radcliffe-magazine/are-women-new-majority-in-workplaceBryce Covert has a really interesting piece on The Atlantic online  about the so-called “ambition gap” in the workplace, the excuse so often trotted out to explain away the nagging gender wage gap: “When researchers have studied the ambition gap,” she writes, “they’ve discovered something peculiar: It’s not there. Women do ask for more. They just aren’t rewarded for it.”

The phrase “ambition gap” has always irritated me because it presumes something that’s not really about ambition. It’s about the fact that women often wind up doing things other than/in addition to dedicating themselves to their careers, and the assumption is that a) this is a choice & b) as a result, women don’t get to advance as men might — that’s not an “ambition” problem, that’s a “society-wide, institutionalized sexism” problem.

As it turns out, personally, I was happy to plan my professional life in a way that…

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Almost There

11 Dec



This advertisement from the 1960’s is the first time I saw something that displayed a woman in intimates and crossing the line from suggestive to blatant sexually explicit.

The caption Grow Up seems to imply that a woman uncomfortable with letting it all hang out is somehow immature. The bikini shown is certainly tame by todays standards. The previous decade, the 50’s was a much more conservative time. Good girls were the norm and bad girls were socially unacceptable. The sixties were a time of revolution and great changes in society. Popular slogans like “Make Love Not War” combined with the hippie lifestyle and Woodstock seems to have stripped away, literally, the demure and wholesome woman.

The tagline “this is the way to say you’re there” seems like a pathway to prove something for women of the era. The fact that something like this was a major ad campaign during the sixties shows the progression from our original 1800’s ad to this, the twentieth century.

It is my opinion that the 1900’s, specifically the 1920’s, that the future of women in advertising headed into this direction of sex sells. The fashion of the time was seductive and the hairstyles were masculine. The body hugging slips that were worn as dresses were an extension of the seductive and suggestive ads of the times. To wonder what came first, the ads or the fashion is much like asking about the chicken or the egg, impossible to answer.

I think design is a window into time, a freeze frame of the culture and mindset forever captured in print. Women in design have moved from wholesome to whoresome in just a couple hundred years. I am not sure feminism can survive the future at this rate.

Along the Way

5 Dec

Is it there already? The subtle changes in the perception of the feminine? Let’s look at this, our second ad, from Maybelline. The woman is depicted already as a less wholesome image and more of a seductress. I believe this ad clearly shows that the perception of the feminine has already crossed the line of substance to appearance values.


The lure to instant loveliness is unmistakeable! It no longer is about what we do or who we are. Suddenly, we catapault into the realm of what we appear to be, or objectification! There is a new dichotomy slipping into the subconcious of men and women both.

The power of graphic design is the subliminal ,message conveyed to the recipient! It slithers into our mind in a slippery fashion, leaving us thinking thoughts that were placed there by some of the 1000 words an image is worth. It is a viseral imagining, one that compells us to become that which we see as preferable in our societal conditioning.

Is there any relief from consistent exposure to images that speak volumes about what is important to society? The focus from what our value is as a contributing member of society and the family unit becomes one of value is based on appearance and nothing more. That there is an ideal loveliness that all women should aspire to and it leaves little to no doubt about the benefits of achieving this ideal.

If graphic design, advertising and image is so powerful why wasn’t it used to balance the value of diversity? Why, as other designers have mentioned, wasn’t the true power of graphic design employed by companies to help all people feel good about themselves?

Perhaps the message that success was to be defined by the balance of a bank account and graphic design was merely a ‘way to sell socks’, or makeup as the case may be, is all that permeated the membrane of the collective consciousness at the time.

What do you think? Did this advertisement already cross the line? Is it just a harmless ad that has no social significance at all? Is there such a thing?

The Beginning

1 Dec

This quote, found here, really says it all about the beginnings of advertisements.

Cyrus H. K. Curtis, a conservative Republican entered magazine publishing with the goal of creating a rewarding vehicle for national advertising rather than with any journalistic convictions. He was to become the country’s most successful periodical publisher, with the Ladies’ Home Journal and, later, The Saturday Evening Post. Curtis asked a group of national advertisers: “Do you know why we publish the Ladies’ Home Journal? The editor thinks it is for the benefit of American women. That is an illusion, but a very proper one for him to have. But I will tell you, the real reason, the publisher’s reason, is to give you people who manufacture things that American women want and buy a chance to tell them about your products.”

It is from here, the 1800’s that we will begin to explore the women in advertising. Our first ad is for laundry soap:

1800's Ad


It presents women in a good light, in my opinion. The colors are happy and soothing, the companionship of another is there, really a ‘feel good if you buy this soap’ effective and respectful ad.

The world at the time was not fraught with divorces and broken homes, instead the family was a critical component of the community and well revered. The man was typically the head of the household and the women stayed home to handle the domestic side of it. I believe it was a great arrangement.

I also think there are subtle clues imbedded in our visual language or advertisements, that leave a vivid trail denoting the breakdown of our society that we experience today. This is the quest I have embraced with this blog. I am looking for evidence of a choice that was made somewhere down the line in the collective consciousness of our culture to throw away the family values and lose respect for women along the way.

30 Nov

This one is serious, important for all of humanity. Women begin as Girls…



Nearly a year ago, Congresswoman Betty McCollum, D-MN, traveled to Bangladesh to evaluate U.S.-funded initiatives that impact the health, education and economic security of women and girls, especially efforts to prevent child marriage. She also co-sponsored House Resolution 6087, the International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act, designed to protect the rights of girls in developing countries. Companion legislation has already passed in the Senate, and McCollum’s bill was referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

On October 11 the world did something remarkable. Together, we celebrated International Day of the Girl Child – a day to recognize not only the basic human rights of young women but address the unique political, social and economic barriers faced by millions of girls around the world.  We know that when girls are valued, families, communities and nations thrive.

As a Member of Congress, I have been fortunate to visit…

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30 Nov

I think Women in Comic Books would be another great research project!

Nate Chen Publications

Everyone loves superheroes. But not everyone considers what it’s like to be a member of the supporting cast of a comic book series. However, if we’re honest most of us are the kind of people who qualify more as supporting cast than main characters. So this week, I offer to you my suggestions for things to keep in mind should you ever find yourself trapped as a minor character in a comic book:

1. Never date a superhero. It can never end well, and will most likely result in emotionally traumatizing events.

a. Yes, even if you have superpowers, too.

2. Never date a supervillian. For all their charisma, power and (inevitably) good looks, there’s far too much narcissism required to go into that field of work to be good for a relationship.

a. Reforming them through the Power of Love is right out.

3. Look into the sidekick business…

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