So you thought we are currently living in the most difficult era to maintain our healthy self-esteem? Think again.
We may have more insidious ways to show how insecure we are about our bodies, but physical perfection has been big business in the U.S. since the nineteenth century. It has kept the advertising industry in the black and both experts and quacks alike alive. Even in a highly regarded intellectual literary journal, such as The Black Cat (1895–1922), which published both Rex Stout and Henry Miller, the back-of-the-book adverts regale the reader with miracle remedies for excess flesh, sagging breasts, constipation, alcoholism, drug addiction and everyday malaise along with cancer cures, while selling a oils, pills, elixirs and a range of nostrums.
Funny thing is, they’re just like today’s product claims, only with better grammar.