Manipulating Images: World War II Mobilization of Women through Magazine Advertising

TitleManipulating Images: World War II Mobilization of Women through Magazine Advertising
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsCovert, Tawnya J. Adkins
Number of Pages179
PublisherLexington Books
CityLanham, MD

This volume explores gendered and class-based representations of American women in women's magazine advertisements published during the period surrounding the Second World War. Focusing on the interrelationships among political, economic, and social forces in the construction of prevailing cultural images and gender roles for women in society, the book examines both the process of creating and the resulting content of wartime mobilization messages found in magazine advertising aimed at American women. The unique circumstances of the Second World War provide a window where the continuous, but normally implicit interactions among the social forces which construct class-differentiated gendered expectations for women in society are revealed, recorded, and made accessible for study. During this period, the federal government altered the prevailing media representations of women and women's roles in response to widespread labor shortages stemming from the movement of male workers into the armed forces and increased demand for military and consumer goods. The advertising industry, business leaders, and media representatives cooperated with the federal government in the creation of labor mobilization and other wartime campaigns. Two types of data are examined to assess the changing nature of the relationships among government, business, and media and the resulting media images and messages regarding women's roles. First, the study explores archived government documents that illuminate the relationships among government, business, and media as they responded to the needs and conditions of war. Second, this book examines advertisements published in women's magazines before, during, and following the Second World War.

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