True Confessions Of Magazines

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Same as it ever was.

True Confessions (originally published by Fawcett Publications in 1922; currently published by Dorchester Media) is a magazine of 'true confessions' -- still today one of the largest markets for short fiction stories -- aimed at a young female readership between the ages of 20 and 35.

The magazines are highly collectible, in no small part due to the gorgeous illustrated covers of movie stars of the age. What's not to love?

Vintage True Confessions Cover

But I, as usual, like to study these magazines for the articles & the ads; the over-all message of the magazine.

The January 1936 issue cover lures me in with the feature story, "Has Every Girl a Price?" If you think it's a warning story of moral ethics, remember that True Confessions is a seller of salacious fiction, aimed at getting the blood (and loins) of female readers warmed.

Has Every Girl A Price?

What the article really is, is one long sales pitch on the notion that love is worth more than a career or anything else -- it is "the most vital and important thing life has to offer them!" When it comes to life "a girl's main function is to charm" and a mother's job is "first of all and most of all to teach her girl-child the art of pleasing the male."

Vintage True Confessions Article

Sounds far less like love and more like being sold to the highest bidder -- a male lured by female charms -- for marriage.

This message isn't troubling to the publishers of True Confessions. In fact, it's right on the mission. Not only to sell hot-heart-throbbing tales and marriage, but of course the magazine is also here to sell advertising -- and what does a women want require to assist her in developing her charms and pleasing a man? Beauty products, (un)naturally.

1936 Maybelline Beautiful Eyes Ad

Looking at past issues of True Confessions, and their ilk, it's difficult not to feel that these magazines are far worse than the so-called men's magazines; for these magazines are lessons in self-objectification.

We are lured, then as now, by the pretty pictures of glamorous beauties -- the image below was actually inserted dead-center in one of the pages of "Has Every Girl a Price?"

Do You Know? Vintage Movie Star Info

And then we are sold the idea of to selling ourselves to men & the products by which to deliver ourselves to them.

At least that's the intention. Just how many of us are falling for it & how much of it we are buying is still in question.


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You can't prove she's not Marilyn reincarnated. (You really canít!)

DeeDee is a wife and mother, a collector of kitsch and women's history, and a blogger on vintage living.

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