The Ideal Woman

The feminine standard of beauty seems unachievable today, but maybe it always was.

Take, for instance, this illustration of a woman from 1910 and ask yourself if her hair is a physiological possibility.

Having a lot of hair was considered very desirable for a Victorian or Edwardian lady. Some women would make or purchase clumps of hair they would use to make their own hair look fuller. These devices were sometimes known by the flattering title of “rats”.

Here’s a 1905 idealized woman:

This woman is in a decidedly less glamorous situation but she’s still idealized. She’s got lovely hair, a pleasant face, and a very tiny waist. Though she’s got a touch of Rosie the Riveter about her, the implication is that she is a good cook and housekeeper!

The ad slogan So wholesome! So bright! is pretty funny when you recall the “dishwasher” in the ad doesn’t refer to a machine but to the gal washing dishes!


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