Journeys in Feministory: Female Cigarette Smokers
The commonness of cigarette advertising in the United States is a phenomenon of 20th century. Mostly, the huge recognition US can be dated back to their sale to troopers during World War I and World War II. However, the cigarette's global acceptance amongst women is another story.
Before 20th century, smoking women were connected to prostitution. It was considered "proper" ladies should not be smokers.
After World War I, when hundreds of thousands of their men had already been smokers, quite a lot of young women started smoking as well. This was time when the bachelorette found the new definition of what it marked to be a woman. For bachelorettes, smoking cigarettes was fashionable, trendy, and, of course, rebellious as a symbol of their independence.
By the mid-1920's, smoking was already widespread among fashionable younger ladies, but it was an approved tendency in no way. Smoking-As-Woman was still identified as a sign of licentious morals.
Edward Bernays, the nephew of Sigmund Freud, used his uncle's concepts of psychoanalysis and the rules of propaganda and implemented them, initially, to business.
In 1930, Bernays was employed by American Tobacco Corporation. President of the corporation, George Hill, wanted Bernays to discover a strategy to encourage women to start using cigarettes. Hill expected to remove the taboo of women smoking so as to sell more cigarettes.
By attracting women, the Bernays' key promotion campaign had an incredible influence on the cigarettes sale; the volume of cigarettes sold in the US increased several times between 1925 and 1930. By 1944, more than 35% of women were smokers.
For women, smoking was more than just a trend. Smoking grew to be a real symbol of women's freedom, the outcome of a sort of corporate-sponsored feminism. Looking at the interesting connection between feminism and smoking, it is not a surprise that, Virginia Slims, the first cigarette brand for women, was launched at the peak of the feminist movement in 1968.
Using the slogan "You've come a long way, baby", Virginia Slims likewise attracted women with the business mixture of pseudo-feminist claims. Now women smoke at the same quantities as men, and they smoke not only women-targeted cigarettes such as Esse, Glamour, Karelia, Kiss and Vogue, but also such strong cigarettes as Marlboro.
Taking into consideration that nowadays more than 20 million women are smokers in the United States alone, without a doubt, they have come a long way.