Who says there’s nothing funny about domestic violence?
For some mid-century men, beating your wife was not only condoned, but provided an endless source of belly laughs and good-natured guffaws.
What red-blooded all American man in 1957 wouldn’t be tickled to proudly hang this “wife beaters permit” on his rumpus room or home work shop next to his Stanley hammer and crowbar.
A real knee slapper, this Wife Beaters Permit entitles the lucky bearer to take his proper place as King of the household whenever m’ lady starts to nag or scold. As the entitled one, you are to assert yourself “by crowning your Queen,” ( that hammer might come in mighty handy) then “parade about with a star spanking banner (scars and stripes)” qualifying the brute to join the Men’s Revolution”
Who Doesn’t Get a Kick out of Wife Beating?
Whether in cartoons or advertising, mid-century America was a climate where media images and social practices supported and condoned domestic abuse by normalizing , trivializing and romanticizing male violence against women.
Are You a Real Man?
Real men apparently take to physical violence when called for to keep the little lady in line. These 1940’s ads for Van Heusen Shirts might have caused a snicker but they are powerful enforcers of suffocating stereotypes and underlying assumptions of a culture that continues to reinforce traditional alpha masculinity and the submissive femininity,
© Sally Edelstein and Envisioning The American Dream, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sally Edelstein and Envisioning The American Dream with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.