I felt that this advertisement spoke to issues in Gypsy not only of age and sexuality of age as Rose attempts to keep her daughters as children but also the dramatic leap into adulthood the Louise makes when she does her first striptease. The source is a women’s magazine, Cosmopolitan, which would have influenced women of the time. And the pose and hairstyle of the model reminded me of Gypsy at the end of the show. What drew me to this ad specifically was the connection it draws to youth, beauty, and mental health. I think that is something that we can look back at Gypsy and understand, that the mental health of all the characters was severely problematic and the way this ad puts it as solvable by beauty is quite toxic. Lastly, the reference to a woman in business, albeit the beauty business, was interesting in comparison to the powerful female characters in Gypsy.


Musical assigned: Gypsy
Source of Ad: Cosmopolitan 1959

One Reply to “Cosmo Ad as it relates to Gypsy”

  1. When I look at the woman in this ad, I not only see similar styling to Louise at the end of Gypsy, but a similar expression as well. Furthermore, the bare shoulders seems designed to have a similar effect as the striptease, and especially reminds me of Louise’s ‘gimmick’ with her shoulder strap. Further, the quote “I Was Afraid to Be a Woman” sticks out to me, as it reminds me of Louise’s primarily bland and more masculine wardrobe before she takes center stage. Both Rose and Louise attempt to exert influence on a male-centric world. Rose fails, as she flaunts her intelligence, ambition, and decisiveness, qualities reserved for men, while Louise succeeds, as she embraces her sexuality and flirtation, qualities that permit men to objectify women and so maintain some power. The advertised article “How We All Betray Our Age” speaks to the futility of denying age and the desperation needed to even attempt it, as Rose tragically does. When Louise sings to her lamb, we feel acutely the toll that Rose’s ambition has taken on her daughters. Only when it is her last resort does Rose allow Louise to play the age she actually is. Yet, at the same time, the woman pictured next to the article title is clearly young, and the title itself a bit ambiguous. Does the article give advice for how to conceal age? Or encourage embracing it? If the latter then it is clearly in opposition to the imagery shown. Is Rose’s refusal to admit her daughters’ ages reflective of a world that glorifies youth, particularly in women, just taken too far? In her denial of their ages, Rose reveals her own misconception about the place of women within her world; she fails to see Louise’s path to stardom, perhaps she is too consumed with her own ambition to read magazines such as this one.

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