Thursday, February 24, 2011

Selling Romance - Diversity in Wigs!

Any casual reader of romance comics from the 1960s and '70s is aware of the fact that wig advertisements were never in short supply! This ad for "Permanently Styled" S-T-R-E-T-C-H wigs from a company called Valmor out of Chicago appeared in Charlton's Secret Romance #29 (October 1974).

This ad is particularly cool because of the variety of wigs including the "Afro American" and the "Afro Puffs" style -- "the latest rage" which could be worn three different ways. The Afro hairstyle is of course associated with the 1960s and '70s, born out of the "Black is Beautiful" movement.

Valmor, the company that produced these wigs, sold beauty products aimed at African-American women since the 1930s -- including skin-lightening creams. Author Juliann Sivulka explains in her excellent book, Stronger Than Dirt: A Cultural History of Advertising Personal Hygiene in America, 1875 to 1940 that Valmor's early advertisements for the African-American female consumer were, "centered on achieving beauty to attract a man, rather than female dignity and racial advancement." It is obvious from this romance comic ad that by the 1970s, Valmor had engaged with both the political and beauty needs of the mid-century woman.

Join me this weekend to find out --
What is wrong with Angela and Celia?

No comments:

Post a Comment