Media Made Women

appropriating vintage advertising and illustrations of women from 50's 60's, 7'0s

Foraging For Female Fictions

Over the past fifty years American women have consumed an abundance of often conflicting imagery about our role in the world and bits and pieces of these mass media representations remain imprinted in each of us.

Throughout the year, I will post a different fragment of the story. Utilizing collage they becomes the perfect expression for the fragmentation we have all experienced. The art work is composed of hundreds of mass media images appropriated from sources as varied as vintage women’s magazines from the 1940s through the 70s, vintage advertising illustration, retro romance comics, pulp fiction novels and vintage children’s books

1950s media stereotypes of women seeking self definition through motherhood

1950’s media stereotypes of women seeking self definition through motherhood in Sally Edelsteins collage of vintage images

Growing Up Female

Like most women growing up in the 1960s I was fed a generous helping of sugar-coated media stereotypes of happy homemakers who were as frozen and neatly packaged as the processed food they served their Cold war families.

Within a decade’s time, these same images would be thawed out under the hot glare of a woman’s movement only to be joined by a heaping helping of new conflicting media representations of how a girl’s life should be.

Sally Edelstein appropriates 1950s vintage illustration in her colage

A Grim Fairy Tale

Skillfully weaving fairy tales along with the Grimm Brothers the MAD Men of Madison Avenue spun a yarn or two themselves. Peter, Peter Pumpkin Eater may have put his wife in a pumpkin shell ( … and there he kept her very well ) but the Cold war media had a hand in keeping her there too.

Of all the fairy tales I grew up with the one about “Becoming a Woman” was the best fairy tale of all.

I am honored to be a part of a very timely exhibition at the National Steinbeck Center , in Salinas CA. entitled “Honoring Women’s Right: Echoing Visual Voices Together” showcasing art work that examines and explores the social, political, and economic issues related to women’s activism.


One comment

  1. Pingback: Media Made Women- Housewives « Envisioning The American Dream

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