As I discussed in Automobiles, Advertisements and Gender Stereotypes, early automobile manufacturers designed cars with both men and women in mind because society at the time viewed certain aspects of autos through a gendered and stereotypical lens. Society linked females to luxury, style, and comfort, and they associated men with power, economy, and service. Just as elements of the car were viewed in gendered terms, so too was the prescriptive literature about motoring and autocamping.
Advice on these activities differed depending on an author’s gender, even in traditionally female magazines such as Woman’s Home Companion, Ladies’ Home Journal, and Delineator. Clothing is one aspect of motoring and autocamping where the gender differences in how women and men made recommendations was most evident. Makeup and cleanliness also had noticeable differences in treatment depending on the author. If viewed through the lens of automobile attributes ascribed by manufacturers and advertisers, these topics also fall into recognizable characteristics—clothing (style and comfort), makeup (luxury and style), and cleanliness (comfort). Women overwhelmingly wrote more on topics within these subjects than men did, but some men addressed these subjects too, most likely due to the expectations of their female audience in these magazines. Men thus monopolized different subjects involving motoring and autocamping in women’s magazines, but more on that later.
In an upcoming post, I’ll delve into clothes worn during travel in the 1920s and will elaborate upon the ways that men and women differed in their writing about those clothes, so stay tuned.