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Scholars Day: April 7, 2010

1920’s Cleansing Advertisements: The Ultimate Guides to “Peace” for American Women

The Roaring Twenties: the time when people believed dandruff could come alive as an army of skin cells with minds of their own. The time when the body violently attacked and the only way to reach a “peace agreement” with it was to buy the products that could fight back. Advertisers of this time exaggerated such common, natural bodily flaws to the point that they were believed to severely affect one’s entire lifestyle. The campaigns for Listerine and other feminine beautifying and cleansing concoctions presented their products as the ultimate saviors for the easily destroyed female image. This thesis explores through critical lenses the ways in which advertisers of this time carefully composed such intriguing schemes to capture and essentially create the consumer. By using the unique theories of Karl Marx, Roland Barthes, and many other literary theorists to analyze the superior literary form of these advertisements, perhaps the code of the past can be cracked!

Presenter: Katy Groet (Undergraduate Student)
Topic: Honors Program
Location: 204 Holmes
Time: 11:20 am (Session II)