Shocking examples of sexism in 1960s corporate newsletters

An article from 1962 explains why, and how, corporate communicators should run pictures of scantily clad women in their publications.

Fifty years ago, internal publications at companies and corporations proudly displayed pictures of women clad in swimsuits. The editors of these publications even had names for such content—”pretty girl pictures,” or simply, “cheesecake.” A 1962 article in Reporting, a newsletter published by the International Council of Industrial Editors (ICIE), a trade association for corporate communicators, explains why and how editors should handle “cheesecake” in their publications. “If a picture idea comes along that calls for a pretty girl by all means take advantage of it, but don’t push pretty girls into pictures that are obviously exaggerated or ridiculous,” the article’s two authors, both men, wrote. “Use models with a company tie-in whenever possible,” they continued. “An alert editor should have no trouble in finding plenty of professional model material among employees, and employee’s wives and daughters. … Don’t settle for girls that are not photogenic or who would be out of place in a bathing suit.” The authors were editors of The Forecaster, a weekly newsletter for Union Carbide’s Texas City plant. Their article in Reporting is a sort of how-to for their peers. Here’s an example they shared from The Forecaster of an employee’s daughter taking part in the Miss Fishing Rodeo contest: The story also features a full-page of other examples of “cheesecake”: The authors point out that DuPont’s “fine inter-and-external magazine is a good example of the effective use of sophisticated cheesecake.” If the corporate editors reading the article in Reporting don’t have managers as open-minded as those at Union Carbide or DuPont, the authors offer some advice:

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