1920s, 1920-1929, advertising, chicago, gender history, history of race, the ku klux klan, blackness, whiteness, racism, womanhood, african american history, women's history, race, gender, class
The 1920s represented a time of tension in America. Throughout the decade, marginalized groups created competing versions of a proper citizen. African-Americans sought to be included in the national fabric. Racism encouraged solidarity, but black Americans did not agree upon one method for coping with, and hopefully ending, antiblack racism. White women enjoyed new privileges and took on more roles in the public sphere. Reactionary groups like the Ku Klux Klan found these new voices unsettling and worrisome and celebrated a white, nativeborn, Protestant and male vision of the American citizen. Simultaneously, technological innovations allowed for advertising to flourish and spread homogenizing information regarding race, gender, values and consumption across the nation. These advertisements selectively represented these changes by channeling them into pre-existing prescriptive ideology. Mainstream ads, which were created by whites for white audiences, reinforced traditional ideas regarding black men and women and white women’s roles. Even if white women were featured using technology or wearing cosmetics, they were still featured in prescribed roles as housekeepers, wives and mothers who deferred to and relied on their husbands. Black women were featured in secondary roles, as servants or mammies, if at all. Concurrently, the black press created its own representations of women. Although these representations were complex and sometimes contradictory and had to reach multiple audiences, black-created ads featured women in a variety of roles, such as entertainers, mothers and business women, but never as mammies. Then, in a decade of increased tensions, white-created ads relied on traditional portrayals of women and African-Americans while black-designed ads offered more positive, although complicated, visions of womanhood.
Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
History; Public History
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Arts and Humanities -- Dissertations, Academic, Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Humanities
Turnbull, Lindsey L., "White And Black Womanhoods And Their Representations In 1920s American Advertising" (2012). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 2504.