Sunday, October 4, 2015

Audience Comparison of Dorothy Gray Salon Anti-Aging Products Advertisement (1951) to The Feminine Mystique and "You Don't Own Me"

Although they came from the same general time period, the Dorothy Gray Salon product advertisement for various anti-aging cream and lotions targeted a very different audience than The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan and the song "You Don't Own Me" by Lesley Gore. Although all three rhetorical texts were aimed at women unhappy in their current state, the Dorothy Gray Salon advertisement targeted women who were insecure and felt inferior to their husbands in terms of their appearance. By exploiting the insecurities of a large population of women, much like beauty ads today, the Dorothy Gray Salon advertisment was able to sell products that promised these women not just a more youthful appearance, but also renewed interest from their husbands. Women who were less exposed to the feminist movement, which encouraged women to worry less about their appearance and to value less superficial elements of themselves, most likely fell prey to the ideas in the advertisement. The Feminine Mystique, although also intended for women who were in some way aware of their unhappiness as a housewife, was directed more at women who understood that there was more in the world for them than a youthful glow and less wrinkles. Similarly, the song "You Don't Own Me", was aimed at women and girls to make them aware of the possibility of autonomy from men. In summary, all three texts targeted generally the same group of women, but offered unique solutions to feminine discontent.

-Taylor Rezeppa


  1. Great analysis! I think it would have been easy to simply claim that "women of the time" were the intended audience, but the ways you categorized the types of women to which each piece would appeal to were very impressive. That being said, do you believe that the anti-aging product poster ad would not appeal to any women in the second category you mentioned (the ones who were exposed to feminism and aware that something was wrong)? I doubt that it was that absolute, but still, I applaud you for analyzing so in depth and making such accurate and appropriate observations. Excellent post overall.
    -Agustin Aguerre

  2. Like Agustin said, excellent post. You really dug deep into your analysis and I like how you chose a beauty ad as an additional text to compare your original texts to, way to think outside of the box! I also liked how you pin pointed that these texts all had the same general audience, however had different ways of -- like you said -- "offering different solutions to feminine discontent". Well done.

    - Jessica Foster

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