Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same

You know me and my vintage artwork...well, here's another darling example of it.  Some of my favorite paintings happen to be those that appeared on Good Housekeeping covers in the first few decades of the 20th century.  Modern-day 21st century women's magazine covers have photographs on them, not artwork; and nowadays, if the covers depict people, those people are usually grown-up celebrities.  But back in the 19-teens, -20's, and -30's, more often than not Good Housekeeping cover images, like this one, were sweet paintings of children.

This 1921 cover certainly shows how much things have changed!  For one thing, did you note the price?  23 cents!  I don't think anything costs as little as 23 cents anymore, and the newsstand price of a copy of Good Housekeeping is currently around $3.50.  (Of course, if you sign up for a 12-month subscription, it'll cost you $7.97 altogether, making each issue a mere 66 cents--which actually isn't too bad, is it?  I think I better renew my subscription right now, because I'd be losing money if I didn't take advantage of a deal like that!)

Another thing that has changed quite a bit is swimsuit fashion design.  Look at how modest these little girls' bathing costumes are!  Styles are so skimpy these days in comparison, even for tots--although our son and his wife recently sent us some photos of our baby granddaughters in the pool, and the tops of their little suits looked sort of like t-shirts.  I believe these new-style suits are even given an SPF value, and I think they're great.  It sure makes a lot more sense to cover up those vulnerable little pink shoulders than to expose them to the burning rays of the sun.

And while we're on the subject of fashion, let's talk about the bandanna the older sister has tied around her hair.  Don't you just love it?  She was probably copying her mom (who no doubt tied a scarf around her hair-do to protect it from the wind and water) and feeling like a very big girl indeed.

Today's GH covers usually boast--in large, very bright letters--about all the stories and articles you will find inside, concerning topics such as dieting and weight loss, home decorating ideas, health alerts, beauty tips, fashion trends, recipes, and the lives of the rich and famous.  This 1921 cover, coming on the heels of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution just the year before, highlights only one story: "The Story of the Women Voters' Big Convention."  Yep, that was a big one.  That story probably had more women interested than one about the latest weight loss fad.

What I like best about this cover painting is that it shows that the more things change, the more they stay the same.  The outfits may be different, but when you're at the beach this summer, everywhere you look you'll see scenes like this, where big sisters are holding onto the hands of their little sisters and walking along the water's edge.  And you'll see baby sisters with their free hands spread wide in excitement, anxious to dip their chubby little fingers into the water.  Lots of things have changed, but that never will.

No comments:

Post a Comment