A Feminine Tragedy and its Cure

Women’s Home Companion, October 1937

Advertisements directed to women fall into two large schools. There are the dreams–buy this and your life will be wonderful. And then there are the warnings–if you don’t buy this your life will be filled with despair. This particular ad obviously falls into the latter category, warning of a life of tragedy and pity if you try to live without a Charis girdle.

What are the danger signs of a “middle age” figure, a “familiar feminine tragedy”? The ad points them out to us—sagging breast, rolls of fat above the waist, and a protruding belly.  And what are the causes? I found the answers surprising. According to this ad, bad girdles, childbirth, and also “arduous housework” work against a youthful figure. Might not housework count as exercise?

But the solution is at hand with a Charis Foundation.  “With her body restfully supported and guarded from strain, neither motherhood nor household duties need rob the normal woman of her graceful, slender figure.” Note that the company recommends their product to avoid or correct a “middle aged” figure. In other words, no housewife, regardless of her age, should live without one.

Thanks to Susan of Witness2Fashion for this wonderful ad. 

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