Sunday, April 8, 2012

Torches Of Freedom

As unbelievable as it may sound, for a period of time in America, women didn't smoke.

Before the twentieth century smoking was seen as a habit that was corrupt and inappropriate for women. It wasn't until the feminist movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries when women began to smoke in order to prove themselves "equal" to men.

Cigarettes were described as symbols of emancipation and equality with men. Just who the hell are these "men" to tell us we can't smoke cigarettes? We'll show them! So, the catch-phrase "Torches of Freedom" became widely-used during that period to encourage women to smoke during the women’s liberation movement in the United States.

The term was first used by psychoanalyst A. A. Brill when describing the natural desire for women to smoke, and also used by Edward Bernays, on behalf of the tobacco industries, to encourage women to smoke in public despite social taboos. Bernays hired women to march while smoking their “torches of freedom” in the Easter Sunday Parade of 1929 which was a significant moment for fighting social barriers for women smokers.

Unfortunately interesting, huh? So much for women being the "smarter" sex.

Clip Source: Adam Curtis - The Century Of The Self

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