“Guard charm every day”

by | Jan 21, 2022 | History

Alas, Jim sent a telegram, but did not say ‘Love, Jim’ – just signed off ‘Jim’.  What could this possibly mean?  According to this advertisement in the April 1940 issue of the Canadian Home Journal, “Men grow neglectful when wives grow careless”. 

In this case, Betty was not “guarding her charm”, which meant she was not using MUM’s deodorant every day. 

Other advertisements during the war period encourage women to care for their bodies using unusual methods.  In this second advertisement, the woman is asking her doctor to recommend an antiseptic for ‘intimate personal use’.  This ad states that Dettol is used in Canada for ‘cuts, abrasions and bites’ but also for a ‘cleansing deodorant in the bath and all personal uses’.  Just Google ‘Dettol’ for its recommended uses now – I think its ‘antiseptic’ use has changed in the current day. 

Ruth and Nancy Boyd, Long’s Creek, New Brunswick c.1940

And on another sensitive note, according to this ad in the Canadian National Home Monthly, September 1942, the troops are counting on you to be the life of the party. You have duties to entertain as a hostess at the Red Cross Canteen. Don’t follow Nancy’s example – she “spreads gloom”. Learn instead from “Martha – the toast of the troops”.

Advertisements in Canadian womens’ periodicals of the wartime period positioned male figures in the ads more often than today, with the male doctor as the authority, and the women encouraged to care for themselves for ‘their man.’