It’s no secret that the 1940s and 1950s were a strange time for feminism: girdles, cigarettes-as-diet-aids, and the concept that a college-educated woman’s utmost ambition should be a washing machine and 2.5 children abounded. Then as now, the wedding industry was in full swing, and publications like Modern Bride, Ladies’ Home Journal, and many more were keen to offer advice to newlyweds and brides-to-be. Here are a few of the most ridiculous snippets of advice we found when combing through the vintage wedding archives.
This Pepsi-Cola ad from 1956 claims that the “wholesome” qualities of the beverage create the “leanest, fittest-looking grooms and slimmest-waisted brides in history,” which obviously makes their marriages more likely to succeed…
“The average man marries a woman who is slightly less intelligent than he is. That’s why many brilliant women never marry. They do not come in contact with sufficiently brilliant men, or fail to disguise their brilliance in order to win a man of somewhat less intelligence. College males tell us that they want a girl for a wife who is intelligent but makes them feel they are still more intelligent!”
— from Modern Bride, 1952
“It is up to you to earn the proposal — by waging a dignified, common-sense campaign designed to help him see for himself that matrimony rather than bachelorhood is the keystone of a full and happy life.”
— from “How to Make Him Propose,” Coronet, 1951
Want to be given the title of Most-Valuable-Wedding-Guest? Buy the bride a toaster! Because as soon as her special day is over, it’s back to the kitchen for her.
“If you have a job or career of your own, would you be willing to give it up if it would advance your husband’s interests? If not, you are more interested in promoting yourself than promoting your husband. Helping a man attain success is a full-time career in itself. You can’t hope to do it unless it is important enough to claim all your attention.”
— from “How to Help Your Husband Get Ahead,” 1954