Selling Femininity Project Description

Project Description

Selling Femininity: Women in Advertising, would be an interactive online archival exhibit, that focuses of the history of women in advertising. This project would be broken up into several phases. Eventually the project would encompass all forms of media advertisements directed toward women and using women as an advertising tool. However, here I will focus on the first phase,which deals only with the digitization of magazine advertisements featuring women and directed towards other women from the late nineteenth century up until the present day. The goal of this project is to assist those studying gender studies, social history, and advertising history in their research. A database of ads such as these will show a pattern of changing views of femininity. The first phase will consist of digitizing one thousands ads, one hundred from each of ten magazines.

The featured ads would come from:
Cosmo, Readers Digest, Better Homes and Gardens, Good Housekeeping,Ladies Home Journal, McCalls, Vogue, Redbook,Woman’s Day, and Family Circle. These magazines were chosen for their notability as women magazines and their longevity. All but one, McCalls, which ceased publication in 2000, are still in popular circulation. Individual ads will be assessed by several different criteria, and must meet certain standards in order to be included. The ad must portray a women predominantly, the ad must be for a product traditionally directed towards women, the ad must be aesthetically pleasing (preferably in color, although rarity, age, and content will be considered when making a final decision on black and white documents).

The ads will be searchable by users in several ways. Firstly, there will be a search box, then there will be links to thematic groupings of articles, by magazine, type of product advertised, and era. One will also be able to view the ads in chronological order as default. Some other functions of the site that will improve usability will be the close up to details and the similar ads list. Each article will have links to the titles of ads that are similar in nature next to the image. Detail close up will allow users to click on specific details in a an article. Once clicked the user will be shown a closeup of that detail and a pop up box explaining the significance of that detail to the ad. Metadata for these ads will consist of magazine name, publishing date, product name, any model names available,and original repository.

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