“the Aesthetes of Fascism”

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Critical Review
“The aesthetes of Fascism”
“Images of Rosie: A content analysis of women workers in American Magazine Advertising, 1940-1946”

January 29, 2011

This critical review looks at two pieces of work by Charles Lewis, John Neville, and Phillip Wander. The first article, which is titled “Images of Rosie: A content Analysis of women workers in American Magazine Advertising, 1940-1946” was written and researched by both Lewis and Neville. Phillip Wander titles the comparing article “The Aesthetics of Fascism”. After reading both articles I have been able to summarize and review them both to see whether they have a contrastive or a comparative point of view. From my research I have concluded that the authors and their articles are comparative. The reasons for this are: both articles use a form of white propaganda to prove their thesis. They both use the ethos’s rhetoric throughout their articles to prove their points along with report talk to layout the information. Cardstacking and source credibility are used to help confirm each authors theme and argument. After summarizing each article, we can then look at how effective each technique was and how they were similar with one another to show how ultimately the power of image was coherent throughout the articles.

Firstly, The article “Images of Rosie”, by the two PH.D. Grads from the University of Minnesota – Lewis and Neville – the aim of this content analysis was to determine whether or not advertising of women in the World War 2 era made a difference in shaping the image of women during this time. The other purpose for this analysis was to indicate other research on the topic of women and advertising during the war years. The two attempt to put a connection between the advertising industry, the reality of working women and sociocultural constructions of female gender identity before, during, and after the war. The authors begin to discuss how historians have over looked the advertising era during WW2. During this time the war bridged two very different experiences – the depression and post-war era. Between 1940 and 1943, women workers grew dramatically. Unemployment went from 13% in 1937 to 1.3% in 1943. Five million women worked in the American labour force in 1920. In 1940 the number jumped to eleven million and in 1944 more than nineteen million women were working in the labour force. The immediate entry of women going into the work force also had the same exit in 1946. However, different surveys would give you the other side of things. In 1944 a government survey showed that 80% of women had a desire to keep working in the labour force. Advertising also switched strategies during the war. From 1940 to 1946 trades journals focused on topics like women workers and subjects that would interest women. Immediately after the war these topics were rarely discussed. The authors of the article review the specific topics of each era during the war. Topics were different before the war, heading in to the war, during the war, and after. Advertisers started to cater more and more towards what women would want to read and it started to stick that way which changed advertising after the war. Women had different roles after the war and advertisers had to change their strategies once again to appeal to this target audience. This study focuses on two theoretical concepts. First, from a feminist social view, theory that the main traditional notion of gender is not based on basic elements of biological structure. Secondly, it concerns itself with how advertising images feed into the constructive process of gender meanings. In conclusion to this article, the authors says that advertising rarely is an accurate reflection to reality. Although, it does contain elements of social reality and it itself is a social reality. The study establishes the changes in depictions of women before during and after wartime. Advertising played a significant part to help smooth...
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