Gloria Brame, Ph.D.

Selling beauty to men: vintage ads

Filed By Gloria Brame, Ph.D. | October 23, 2009 11:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment
Tags: vintage ads, vintage beauty, vintage male

Two 1920s ads for Pompeian cream, which claimed to make men look more virile.


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Michael @ | October 23, 2009 1:57 PM

We assume you are aware that the man most responsible for establishing the concept that survives today of the ideal [Caucasian, Western culture] male was illustrator J.C. Leyendecker, the idol of illustrator Norman Rockwell who would succeed him as primary artist for "Saturday Evening Post" covers, and also creator of our concepts of Santa Claus and the New Year's Baby.

Leyendecker imprinted the idea of the perfect male primarily through his creation of the "Arrow Collar Man" ads in the first quarter of the 20th Century [when shirts came without collars]; a figure so popular that, at one time, the Man received thousands of pieces of fan mail every week.

Only decades later would we learn that "he" was modeled after Leyendecker's partner of some 50 years, Charles Beach. But contemporaneous gay men must have instantly spotted Leyendecker's persuasion in the way men in his ads are gazing into each other's eyes, often past women in the ads, or in a home or out and about [pun intended] in their perfectly tailored clothes and perfect cheekbones. Even the amount of male semi-nudity he got away with way back then is startling.

For a gallery of some of his best:

You flatter me with your assumption. Thanks for the education and the links!

What are you trying to say, Gloria? My Pompeian cream isn't making me sexier?

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | October 24, 2009 9:51 AM

***Perhaps some "Oil of Old Age" and a sand blaster*** :)