Romance Comics: setting back women's lib by a century?

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Romance Comics: setting back women's lib by a century?

Post by tony ingram on Tue Mar 02, 2010 3:48 pm

I've just acquired a few romance comics from the late 40s/early 50s (covers below) and having read them, was struck by something: these titles typically had two or three stories per issue, and in no less than three stories out of the seven I've just read, the female protagonist ends up either throwing away her career or dropping out of college in order to get married, the apparent moral of the stories being that only marriage can give a woman a fulfilling life and a career is at best irrelevant once that has been achieved, and at worst an active hindrance. One 'too ambitious' woman (see third pic below), having trained to be a lawyer, leaves her new husband because he insists she shouldn't work and gets a job with a law firm, where she proves herself more than competent. Unfortunately, she ignores her hubby's warning that the boss of the firm is only hiring her because he wants to have his wicked way-and sure enough, that's exactly the case! Wifey ends up successfully defending hubby in court when Mr sleazy boss tries to sue him for something, then gives it all up to stay at home and bake cakes-as, presumably, she should have done to start with! I know comparatively little about romance comics from that period, but I do know they were very popular for some decades in the US, and it occurred to me to wonder if these stories were really representative of the genre as a whole, and if so, if they had any effect on the whole Women's Lib movement that seems to have been starting in the US by the sixties, when several of these titles were still being published quite successfully. And is it just me, or were British girls comics, like Romeo, from around the same time, actually rather more progressive? I seem to recall a number of far more independent heroines in Romeo's pages when I researched an article on it awhile back. Thoughts, anyone?






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Re: Romance Comics: setting back women's lib by a century?

Post by GBF on Sat Mar 06, 2010 1:36 pm

Poor old Marj! She lets the GI have his way and then gets bollocked for him missing the boat! Hoo Boy!!

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Re: Romance Comics: setting back women's lib by a century?

Post by tony ingram on Sat Mar 06, 2010 1:45 pm

GBF wrote:Poor old Marj! She lets the GI have his way and then gets bollocked for him missing the boat! Hoo Boy!!
Ah, no. Not quite. Marj basically bullies the bloke into marrying her, knowing he's just been given a posting abroad, and then tries to bully him into going AWOL to honeymoon with her, silly, selfish little thing that she is! So, he apparently does just that, going off with her for a week and with both of them spending much of it dodging the MP's who seem to be everywhere and getting really stressed. Eventually, on the last day before he's decided to return, Marj sees MP's on the boat he's due to take and tricks him into missing it-only for hubby to reveal that he isn't really AWOL at all, he's just been pretending to teach her a lesson in responsibility! But now, he's really going to be late back from his one week pass!!! Marj, contrite, does the decent thing and throws herself on the mercy of his CO to get him off the hook and gets a good talking to about being a silly girl before the happy couple bugger off to his new posting, he to become an officer, she presumably to bake cakes... Razz

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Re: Romance Comics: setting back women's lib by a century?

Post by MR X on Sat Mar 06, 2010 10:54 pm

I always felt that these type of comics/mags contained excellent graphics of impossibly-perfect young couples [especially the young women.] In many ways, they were as overtly 'fantastic' inasmuch as they presented perfection unattainable in the real world as that depicted by cartoon beings in the BEEZER.

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Re: Romance Comics: setting back women's lib by a century?

Post by tony ingram on Sat Mar 06, 2010 11:28 pm

MR X wrote:I always felt that these type of comics/mags contained excellent graphics of impossibly-perfect young couples [especially the young women.] In many ways, they were as overtly 'fantastic' inasmuch as they presented perfection unattainable in the real world as that depicted by cartoon beings in the BEEZER.
It's true. If you've ever seen a copy of Timely/Marvel's 'Patsy walker'...well, 'pert' doesn't even begin to cover it...

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Re: Romance Comics: setting back women's lib by a century?

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