I recently found this fascinating advertisement in a 1929 needlecraft magazine in my collection, and thought you might find it as interesting as I did.
It’s not the earliest advertisement for ‘feminine hygiene’ products in my collection (that’s in a 1911 Girls Own Paper), but it is the first to make it reasonably clear what the product is for. With most of the 1910s ones, it wasn’t until I’d seen enough of them in brands I knew to understand the coded language used enough to recognise a few more.
In addition to signalling a switch in how openly women talked about products associated with menstruation, it shows a clear change in the tone of advertising. 1900s & 1910s ads for personal products for women (soaps, perfumes, toothpaste etc.) tend to have a cheerful ‘this product is great value and will make your life better!’ bent. 1930s-50s advertisements are rather nastier:* ‘if you don’t use this product you won’t be popular and will literally offend the rest of the world with your disgustingness.’ This ad combines the two, but by leading with dire warnings of how no one is safe from offending others, it’s clear that fear as the main motivator is moving to the forefront.
On a happier note, on the same page there are some really cute examples of kids clothes. I’m particularly loving the two romper suits. How adorable are they! The older girls clothing is also lovely, especially because it really was just smaller versions of what an adult would wear.
* Obviously not all advertisements of this period fall into this category, but variations on this theme certainly represent a significantly higher proportion of ads.