17 Comments

  1. I think that *is* the joke. But I don’t think it was meant to be a *mean* joke. It’s not that we are supposed to think “what an idiot; doing something useless and missing the point– she’s just a revolting pig”. I think it’s supposed to make us think “oh, how cute; the contortions and fascinations people go through and their shortcomings— oh well, she looks sweet; bless her”.

    More slice of life and human foibles and empathy/recognition then judgemental snide irony.

  2. Yeah, I don’t think she’s overweight by 1939 standards.The pendulum hadn’t swung as far as the full-figured builds of Marilyn Monroe or Jane Russell, but it had certainly gone beyond the Olive Oyl/flapper look.

  3. With the bonnet I was thinking there is some sort of nursery rhyme tie-in. Like Miss Muffet going for something better than curds and whey. Way better, from the looks of it.

  4. Well, the sandwich looks like lettuce on toast, so it might be “diet”. But the article she’s reading is more about exercise, so I think the joke is that even thinking about working out makes her hungry.

  5. It looks more like a BLT to me – and the shake and sundae kind of kill any diet idea. Oh, and I missed the mini-pie.

    It’s also possible (I don’t know what the “ideal figure” by 1939 standards is) that she feels she’s too skinny, and is working on becoming more full-figured (and fit with it, thus the exercise). Or it could just be, as woozy said, “oh, look, how cute she is”.

  6. I did a google image search for “1939 cover girl” and none of them look either particularly emaciated nor particularly plump, so I’m guessing the woman on this cover was considered normal weight.

    I agree that it’s most likely a fun jab at people who read/think/talk diet and eat … well, a lot.(No point in insulting pigs here, right?)

    Not unlike the people who go to the gym and take the elevator to the second floor, and then reward themselves for a great workout by having a muffin. (Not that I’ve ever done that, nossir, not me. Honest. Have I ever lied to you?)

  7. Rather than a comment on this particular model/person, I read the joke as “Here you are, reading about exercising in order to get ‘the ideal figure,’ yet you’re eating food that will sabotage those efforts.” It’s along the lines of, “Ha ha, women are so illogical and thereby funny!”

  8. “Not unlike the people who go to the gym and take the elevator to the second floor”

    I believe the traditional joke here is to note people who drive to the gym, with maybe a bonus jab about trying to get the closest parking spots. More universal because more gyms have parking lots than elevators.

  9. Or, like my mother, you have really bad feet. I used to snicker privately at how many times she’d circle the parking lot looking for a closer spot, until my dad told me every step was painful for her.

    Now I try to remember that whenever someone does something that looks stupid or selfish – I try to remember that I don’t know what their reality is.

  10. Why wouldn’t I drive to the gym, or take an elevator, or try to get a close parking spot? Hopefully I’m going to the gym to do some exercise that I enjoy more than walking across freezing streets or through a cold parking lot.

    And why wouldn’t I eat a muffin? Muffins taste good.

  11. Absolutely, chakolate, you can’t tell about people: ask me to walk ten miles, no problem. Confront me with a long flight of stairs, though, and there’d better be something really good on the top floor.

  12. Does there have to be a real knee-slapper joke going on here?

    I poked around the web to find info on the cover illustration, hoping to find info on the artist. Instead I found some interesting commentary printed in the magazine issue itself.

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Aug-19-1939-Liberty-Magazine-Miller-High-Life-Ad-Stalin-Rubber-Laws-/282842067086

    (Cover image posted in the above auction is nice and clear BTW)

    Included in the auctions random page samples was an editorial that appears to relate to the cover illustration. It is the last image in the auction’s browser. Keep clicking to the right. It’s titled “Glorifying the Skinny Women”. You can put the image URL in your web browser to give you a larger page to read.

  13. It’s rather concerning, Grawlix, that the commentator believes that the incipient war would require women to get moving with the child-bearing already. Just how long did he expect that war to last?

  14. Maybe the joke is that the woman is reading a magazine about fitness/idealized bodies, but in her mind she’s thinking “Screw you society. I’d rather eat my pie and be happy.” I doubt magazines in 1939 were that progressive, though.

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