According to this vintage WWII propaganda poster, beauty is but a mask covering hideous venereal disease.
Because I’ve written a lot this week, here’s a quick, link-laden, bullet point list of things I was reminded of when I saw this poster:
* Primarily, what we call “beautiful” (symmetry, clear skin, long hair, etc.) is rather an attraction to key health indicators. While STDs can exist & be transmitted before “ugliness” occurs (especially in women because the symptoms are often less visible ~ hence one of Eddie Murphy’s controversial AIDS jokes in 1983 “What’s next, I guess you just put your dick in it and explodes!”), if a woman’s STI had done this much damage, a mask wouldn’t help.
* As today, women were largely blamed for STDs during WWII ~ including by the military. The more beautiful you were, the more promiscuous you were assumed to be ~ and therefore the more disease you hid behind your mask. (You can change “were” to “are” for today’s slut-shaming, women-blaming culture.)
* Because being gay was a mental illness back then, the US government didn’t believe it had gay soldiers to worry about. If & when they magically appeared, they were easily, umm, discharged by reason of mental defect. This is yet another reason women were blamed for the spread of VD. But, gay or not, in WWII or not, men do have sex with other men.
All that aside…
This poster begs the question: If she agrees to keep her mask on, will you, dear soldier, keep your condom on?
Vintage poster, for sale here, found via DPopTart, here.
PS If you want to be grossed out by STI history, read this.