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Vintage Ads Promote Weight Gain

Avatar • Nov 29, 2011

It’s amazing how beauty standards have changed! These 50s ads era ads promote weight gain for skinny women. Check out the full gallery below! Ladies, what do you think about the shifting beauty standard?

Photos via Retronaut.co

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Lanie
8 years ago

Do you read Jezebel?

merry
merry
8 years ago

i think we should look at this with some perspective. the women in the pictures are not fat. what is being called curvy nowadays is fat/obese. but traditionally, curvy means hourglass — small waist, larger/proportionate breasts and hips — like the women in the pics. we’ve lost sight of that. i get the point, but let’s get real here. if most american women looked like this, we probably wouldn’t have many of the health problems we have in this country. to a lot of american women, esp. black women, i think our skewed perception of weight would lead us to think… Read more »

Queeen
Queeen
8 years ago
Reply to  merry

Though I agree with most of this post, “fat” is relative. Just because your a size 16 DOES NOT mean your fat, you can be curve and proportional at that size too.

Somehow society has made it popular to be skinny, but that same society will turn on you if your too skinny. So just love the skin your in is what I say. Find a healthy weight that your happy with and no matter your weight if your confident, youll still get dates 🙂

Propaganda will always trying to make one feel something is wrong with you.

Bridget
Bridget
8 years ago
Reply to  Queeen

ITA about society turning on you. I would like to add family to that too. Several years ago, I put on about 30 pounds and my uncle started ridiculing me about my weight at family gathers something fierce. To the point of almost making me cry. Two years later after I lost the weight, I saw the same uncle at a family reunion, and he started telling me that I looked sick and was losing too much weight. WTH! It was then that I decided that I wasn’t going to worry about what others thought about my weight and just… Read more »

HoneyMiel
HoneyMiel
8 years ago
Reply to  Bridget

that’s bogus. you’re a good one, cos i’m liable to go off. people are always making me feel bad because i’ve always been skinny-skinny. like size 0 to 2 thin. i’m kinda self-concious about it. it’s actually very hard for me to gain weight. thyroid. people feel like because i’m skinny and not overweight that it’s okay to comment on it every chance they get.

it’s not.

AusetAbena
8 years ago
Reply to  HoneyMiel

I feel you completely. I am a size 0, and even with some brands, their size 0 doesn’t fit me. I absolutely abhor when people comment on my size, ask my weight, say things like “I just want to feed you” or when they find out I’m vegetarian say “That’s why you’re so skinny. You need to put some meat on your bones,” not knowing I have been small all my life. I try to brush my shoulders off, but with the way society ridicules women for not being skinny, primarily in the media, women and men in everyday life… Read more »

lala
lala
8 years ago
Reply to  AusetAbena

@ AusteAbena- well said. I’m tired of people making it seem like only big/fat/overweight people have it so hard, I’m a size 0 as well and have been petite all my life, and yet people, particularly people who are bigger, feel the need to judge and critique me on my size and weight to make themselves feel bigger or to take it out on us that people aren’t embracing big women as much as skinnier women. Everyone has it hard, because the truth of the matter, nothing is ever enough, you’ll either be too skinny or not skinny enough. If… Read more »

Pat
Pat
8 years ago
Reply to  lala

I agree 100%. I was a size 0 until I was 25, when I finally reach a size 2 and I was sooo happy. But when I verbalized how happy I was that I could finally go shopping and fit the cloths that are in the store, everyone got upset with me and accused me of bragging. Then when I told them that I was only happy because I no longer would get teased for being too skinny to even fit in the cloths in the stores, they flat out refused to believe that anyone could ever be teased for… Read more »

nelle
nelle
8 years ago
Reply to  Pat

I love that there are other people like me out there. Skinny all of my life. My earliest memory of ridicule is when an uncle told me he could drink soup from the space by my collarbone. I was about 9/10. 20yrs later & I still hate to wear shirts/dresses that show that part of me. My sister has tried to tell me it’s hereditary on my father’s side, but that didn’t stop me from drinking nutraments/ensure/suplegen, eating anything good/bad, going on birth control at one time b/c I heard it made you gain weight. Staying home instead of going… Read more »

Jess
Jess
8 years ago
Reply to  nelle

I agree with everyone. People have always gone out of their way to tell me how small I am. It hurts, because it makes you feel like less of a woman. (While they call the over weight section “woman’s section) I wish I could gain weight, but I honestly cant. Big girls always think they have to soooo bad. But, to tell the truth, skinny was only truly accepted for MODELS during the 1990s, never for small women in real life. -.-

lala
lala
8 years ago
Reply to  Queeen

@ Queen- I think we need to get out of the “popular to be skinny” thing, these days, “curvy” is the new “skinny.” “Fat” isn’t relative, there’s a big difference between being curvy (having an hour-glass figure) and being fat (being far too overweight for your size/height/body type), it’s really annoying how people try to make being fat or big a good thing by saying “oh, i’m just curvy” as if it’s interchangeable. There is a difference. That being said though, you are right about how no matter what weight you are, you’re either too skinny or not skinny enough,… Read more »

Dani
Dani
8 years ago
Reply to  merry

I am in complete agreement.

anastasia
anastasia
8 years ago
Reply to  merry

@ Merry.…Well said; my exact sentiment! =)

Kali
Kali
8 years ago

This is pretty funny! It just goes to show you that standards of beauty and what’s considered healthy or unhealthy have yo-yo’d all over the place over time and over cultures. However, I think that any advertisement or sentiment that encourages being a certain weight and/or body type instead of just being healthy is discouraging. As a skinny woman, I’ve had moments when I become convinced that I’m not “feminine” enough or curvaceous enough, or that I appear unhealthy. The same could be said of heavier women who are otherwise perfectly healthy but feel pressured to lose weight in order… Read more »

Nimi
Nimi
8 years ago

I believe the beauty in the West has changed, but where I’m from (Nigeria), I think it’s fair to say that it is pretty much still the same. Popular opinion is that curvy ladies with a lil’ somn extra are more attractive. I’m a UK size 14. I yoyo quite a lot with my weight. I was bordering on size 18 last year. I wasn’t happy about it so I worked off the fat. The comments from my friends on my weight loss was quite interesting. All the female comments were compliments and telling me that I looked better as… Read more »

Lady Jaye
Lady Jaye
8 years ago

I still think that is a ‘wrong’ beauty standard of sorts. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be healthy/beautiful to be noticed, but it should only be secondary. The desire should be wanting to be beautiful for yourself first and foremost.

b.
b.
8 years ago
Reply to  Lady Jaye

My thoughts exactly! The ads all focus on looking good for someone else. That’s usually the focus of ads — after studying them for four years I get that point. However, I do find these fascinating nonetheless. In the end, determine what looks — and feels — best for yourself first. Can you move at a moderate pace without passing out? Do your clothes fit well? How is your general health (cholesterol, sugar, bp, ect)? Energy levels okay? If you’re maintaining as good a health as you can (and that’s relative I understand depending on your situation) and you rock your… Read more »

Carla
Carla
8 years ago
Reply to  Lady Jaye

I agree. Its all about getting men to notice you.

Lin
Lin
8 years ago

Would suck for me, because I can’t gain weight after I hit 115. I think, at the end of the day, who cares what others think about how you look? If you’re happy with your own body and you’re healthy, nothing else really matters. If they can’t accept your figure, they’re not worth the time.

/rushed and makes no sense because I need to leave like now

Dani
Dani
8 years ago
Reply to  Lin

We can trade metabolisms!

HoneyMiel
HoneyMiel
8 years ago
Reply to  Lin

i thought i was the only one!! right now i’m 5′6″–102 llbs. so hard to gain weight!!!

Ebony
Ebony
8 years ago

The media/press should ever be able to say what’s right for an individual…unless they are promoting overall HEALTH. It seems like everyone in my circle told me not to lose weight. 175 lbs on my frame wasn’t cuttin it. I had to…When a person takes care of their body by eating sensibly and including physical activity, their body will do exactly what it’s supposed to. Some are naturally bigger than others. I will never buy into the notion that some people will always be “fat” because they were born that way (as my sister seems to believe). The human body… Read more »

Michelle
Michelle
8 years ago

Mainstream beauty standards have changed a bit..but the woman in the pic is still slim..a bit cury though..which is a good thing. People have gotten fatter, and there are more people now that are overweight-this is why there are so many ads out there for weight loss. I can imagine back then more people did manual labor and ate at home..so more women were on the skinny side and lacked curves.

GorgeousSmile
GorgeousSmile
8 years ago

This article is true to life for me. I’m not getting the attention I would like from certain kind of men and I can’t help but think it’s because I am ten pounds lighter. Five years ago when I weighed more I was getting all kinds of attention from the men.

It’s amazing to see an ad like this, I am surprised. Skinny is just not cute to me and I desperately wish to gain ten pounds. ;(

df
df
8 years ago

Yeah, I feel like I’m suddenly reading Jezebel LOL. It’s sort of opening a whole can of worms and quite randomly. Will be following the discussion anyway…

Mai
Mai
8 years ago

Funny because sizes in the 1950s were actually larger than they are today. On the outside, it seems that the past’s beauty standards have changed from today, but in reality it seems we are still only as beautiful as our male counterparts dictate.

I dont know...
I dont know...
8 years ago
Reply to  Mai

I have clothing my mother wore in the 60’s and the sizes are much smaller than they are today. One of her size 12 skirts is really today’s size 6.

anastasia
anastasia
8 years ago
Reply to  I dont know...

That’s true, and high-end designer wear is purposely labeled to “flatter” the consumer (metric of 10 but label reads 6).

Dani
Dani
8 years ago
Reply to  Mai

I highly doubt it with all the vanity sizing they do today. I think a 1950s size 10 is a lot smaller than our size 10.

Mai
Mai
8 years ago
Reply to  Dani

Lol, sorry, I should’ve clarified that they were labeled as larger. Marilyn Monroe was around a size 12, but today that translates to a size 6.

Nicky W.
Nicky W.
8 years ago

I think that society is starting to appreciate curves again. Look at Nicki Minaj, Beyonce, Christina Hendrix, Kim Kardashian, etc. These are very curvy and highly successful women. A lot of the guys that I know loves it when girls have hourglass figures and dislike that anorexic, skinny look that was so popular in the 90s to early 2000s. Also, we have those weird butt pads and butt enhancement surgeries that are starting to become popular too.

Anyway, I think these old ads are really cool! Thanks for putting them up!

Lin
Lin
8 years ago
Reply to  Nicky W.

those weird butt pads

The Booty Pop!

Ney
Ney
8 years ago

My husband and I were just talking about this yesterday. I have been sick and stuck home this week so I have been watching a lot of old movies (40’s, 50’s and 60’s) and although I knew that the actresses were generally curvier back then I had no idea that that was the standard until I realized that curvy women were in every movie and in most the curvier women were considered more attractive and played the lead roles (Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe etc). It’s interesting how much beauty standards have changed in Hollywood.

anastasia
anastasia
8 years ago
Reply to  Ney

I’ve read somewhere that today’s avg Playmate and Ms. America is nearly 20lbs lighter than their past counterparts. Nevertheless, those American women were still slim compared to the avg American woman today.

An extra: If you’re an old movie buff, check out some of the Italian movies from the 40–50’s (try Fellini). The Italian film sirens of the past were the ish-complete hourglass!

Dani
Dani
8 years ago
Reply to  anastasia

Sophia Loren comes to mind.

Likewaterforchocolat
Likewaterforchocolat
8 years ago
Reply to  Dani

Also, Italian actress Gina Lolabrigida who had the consumate hourglass frame was considered one of the most sensual women of that time.

Most actresses from the 40’s-60’s (Mae West (who was not thin by any stretch of the imagination), Jane Russell, Jean Harlow). Skinny came in vogue with Twiggy during the late 60’s.

Tabitha
Tabitha
8 years ago

I think fat is whatever weight that starts increasing health risks for an individual. So if you think you’re curvy but the doctor is telling you you’re borderline diabetic, have high blood pressure or sleep apnea you are fat or the more medical term obese.

Deb
Deb
8 years ago

For every womans body type there is a group of men who want that. curvy and fat are two different things and it is not subjective. I think we try soothe people egos when we call people ‘thick’ or ‘curvy’ when they’re a size 18.

Anna
Anna
8 years ago

The ad promoted healthy weight; this woman did not have rolls, a huge gut and cellulite, she was healthy, not fat or obese, as many many women who call themselves “thick” are. Let’s see what is being represented here and not twist it around to ignore the fact that almost 80% of black women are overweight.

moni
moni
8 years ago

As long as you are healthy, you are beautiful. Eat well, exercise (at least 2 hours a week), sleep, drink plenty of water, and give it time, you body will find the correct balance. At that point you will know what is natural for your metabolism and frame. Many people out there have faster or slower metabolisms, various thyroid issues, hormonal embalances that are only EXACERBATED by the horrible diet and lack of motion in today’s world. I have PCOS, 90% of women with PCOS are overweight. Women with this hormonal imbalance need to be more vigilant to maintain a… Read more »

Carla
Carla
8 years ago
Reply to  moni

I have PCOS too (diagnosed in 2000) and I eventually dropped all that extra weight and inches by eliminating grains, sugars (including juice), starches, legumes, etc from my diet. It happened just like that. I also do power lifting 4 days a week now and it helps a lot. Diet is a huge factor with PCOS.

Jetta
Jetta
8 years ago
Reply to  Carla

I was diagnosed with PCOS in 1974 when it was called Stein-Leventhal Syndrome. I was told I would need fertility treatments to get pregnant, but I lost 85 lbs. and didn’t need them (my daughter, who is 26 now, was a pleasant surprise!).

Diet is a huge factor with PCOS, which also causes insulin resistance, which can lead to weight gain. Never judge anybody struggling to gain or lose weight, we have no idea what their genetic makeup is doing to them.

ac
ac
8 years ago

No — this site is perpetuating the same misleading info that Jezebel was perpetuating earlier in the week, but many commenters debunked.

This ad isn’t promoting general weight gain. It’s euphemistically suggesting that if a girl uses their product, she’ll “gain weight” in one area: her BOOBS! Ads from back in the day were all about euphemisms.

Beth
Beth
8 years ago
Reply to  ac

Wow. I’ll have to check out Jezebel to see what everyone is talking about… there’s always more than meets the eye with advertising.

Molly B
Molly B
8 years ago

I’m not sure if beauty standards have changed exactly.…I don’t know anyone who wants a skinny woman nowadays. I always have people, both men and women, telling me I need to gain weight and need to start eating. Also, these women look pretty skinny IMO.

Honestly the only place I’ve seen skinny women valued is in modeling. But that’s just my experiences and what I’ve seen.

brownielocks
brownielocks
8 years ago

I just have one question. Why weren’t our foremothers fat? Most didn’t have time to exercise, and they didn’t have dieticians, either. It seems that most had their hands full with life, just like we do today, only life required more calories, and there were fewer additives in food. So while life was more hectic, it was also more healthful. The whole nation has gotten away from that, it’s not just us. This is a good article, I think: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-191200/How-1950s-women-stayed-slim.html While black women are, always and forever, responsible for their own health, I get tired of people shaking their fingers. We… Read more »

Kay
Kay
8 years ago
Reply to  brownielocks

Oh they worked. They didn’t sit on their a$$es all day at a desk job or in front of a TV eating Cheetos. They worked in the fields, they worked in the home, they did physical work in addition to not eating crap, processed food, fast food, GMO food, etc.

Also for a lot of people outside the cities, food was grown at home or at least in the local communities, they didn’t have to go to Safeway or Walmart to buy packaged crap. The quality is way more better than what the majority of Americans eat today.

LM
LM
8 years ago

HELL where is this ironized yeast today? I’ve tried for years to gain weight but don’t know any proper diets for it. Did it actually work back then? I can’t stand the fact that i’m too small to donate blood. An extra 5–8 lbs would be appreciated. I eat like a beast, but rarely get any weight gain from it. Maybe because I eat alot of vegetables with my meals.

JuicesnBerriez
JuicesnBerriez
8 years ago

What I want to know is, Is this product still on the market? And where can I purchase it?

Edwina@FASHION+ART
8 years ago

I didn’t work for me. My mother put me on Wate-on it when I was about 11 or 12 because I was so painfully thin. It was a waste of time and money.

Le Le
Le Le
8 years ago

The ad is similar to the modern ads that promise a big booty or increase in bra size. It isn’t saying “Our product will help you gain 40–50 pounds all over”.

Sonia
Sonia
8 years ago

I love how people over react negativly to this ads “NO! they where not fat, not promoting fat” “people where so much healthy back then” “eufemism for boobs” this shows the true face of fear to the F word nowdays (meaning:FAT) The issue here is not whether they where fat or not (which no one in their right judgment could call this women in this ads fat) the issue is that yesterdays “ugly scrawny figure” (and I say this words in a very sarcastic tone, because I don’t think any specific figure is ugly) is now-days the very glamorous look promoted… Read more »

T Belicia M
T Belicia M
7 years ago

Whether or not it is advertisement for weight loss or gain, these companies are still making women (and even men) feel the need to change their body weight in some way. Although these ladies look healthy and very pretty, still it is very unhealthy to want to change your body in order to be attractive and “popular”. All body shapes can be healthy and attractive. Companies make money off of people by making then feel ashamed of the way they were made. A skinny girl is beautiful today and a chubby girl was beautiful back then, but it should be… Read more »

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