From “Colored News” to President-elect Obama

I was looking for a birth announcement for a research request this morning on microfilm in the April 13, 1958 issue of the Virginian Pilot.  I like doing this kind of research because it is interesting to peruse old newspapers.  I love the kitschy ads.  It is also interesting to see what was politically correct back then.  For example, the newspaper had a separate section for "Colored News."

One thing that made me shake my head was this question asked of Ann Landers on page 8E:

Dear Ann:  I'm a girl, 17, no great beauty, but I do have an unusually good figure.  I can't help it, Ann, it's all me.  My boy friend in threatening to break up over it.

No matter where we go, fellows whistle and make rude remarks.  My boy friend says he's just not going to put up with it.  Is it my fault if I attract attention?  I don't wear red, or sexy clothes and I never answer any of the wise-cracks.

Please help me.  This boy is president of the Honor Society and I don't want to lose him. –CRITICAL CASE

And the answer:

Girls who attract wolf whistles and fresh remarks usualy invite them in some way.  It may be completely subconscious on your part–so watch it.

How is your posture?  Are you over-doing a good thing?  Perhaps your sweater isn't red, but it could be too tight.  Maybe you've been rinsing your sweaters in hot water and they've shrunk!

Regardless of her natural endowments, a young lady who walks, dresses and behaves properly will not be misunderstood.

Oh, I see… She was asking for it, right?  Sounds to me like her boyfriend is a dick.  Poor thing.


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4 thoughts on “From “Colored News” to President-elect Obama

  1. When I would research in a library, I would always go over to the old Time magazines — more than history books, I think things like that and newspapers give a real flavor of the era.

  2. I so want to type something stereotypical here about men, their proclivities and base instincts but I stopped myself – not entirely sure why. In partial defense of Ann, those really were different times I guess. Some of the thoughts and ideas that permeate a society (i.e. "Regardless of her natural endowments, a young lady who walks, dresses and behaves properly will not be misunderstood") don't seem as wrong in context as they do at a later date with historical perspective. I look back on some of the things I did and said in the 80s, and even 90s, and think that I put up with a whole lot of things that were "the norm" that I would never let happen today.

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