Ladies’ Home Journal, January 1960


I have to confess, even seeing the cover of this week’s issue of Ladies’ Home Journal stirs up some rotten feelings, because of two key things – the mention of Pat Boone, and just a little further down, “How to Lose 25 Pounds and Stay Thin.” Why the strange feelings about the two? Well, many years ago , during a time when I was quite ill and anorexic, a book I read over and over again was by Pat Boone’s daughter Cherry Boone-O’Neill, called Starving for Attention. I was obsessed with this book in a way that was extremely unhealthy and read it so often that even though I haven’t re-read it in well over a decade now, just seeing this cover made whole scenes from the book come flooding back into my brain, fully formed. Now at least I’m far enough away from that time to just feel sad – for the girl I was (and my family!) as well as for anyone else who suffers from an eating disorder – including Cherry, who is (thank goodness), still with us and has recovered.

I can’t wait until the day when we no longer have magazine cover after magazine cover promising to “help” us lose weight, when the torturous “diet” industry collapses in on itself under the weight of its own bullshit, when we aren’t constantly assaulted with photoshopped images of disturbingly thin women, when no one is made to feel shitty about their weight (no matter what their weight is) and the world realizes that what is really important is the person, not their appearance, not their weight. I don’t know if this day will come in my lifetime, but I really hope it does.*

Now this has turned into a little bit of a rant, so I’ll just end this post with a message to anyone and everyone who might be reading: you’re awesome as you are, no matter what you weigh, and you’re worth so, so much more than the number on a scale. Don’t let anyone or anything ever convince you otherwise! ♥ 

Oh, and before I forget the the whole point of this post – you can download a copy of this week’s issue of Ladies’ Home Journal here, or read it online right here. Just please ignore that article about losing 25 pounds – they have an absolutely ridiculous sounding article about whether or not movie stars should be parents you can check out instead!

I know, I know, in this week’s Ladies’ Home Journal post I got a way off topic and a bit personal – I wasn’t expecting that either! Somehow I just couldn’t help but comment on the way this week’s issue made me feel and why. I hope you all enjoy the magazine in spite of my ranting and rambling!


*I know that eating disorders are caused by many different things, but the way I see it, people sure as hell don’t need all of this societal pressure making things worse on top of it. 

11 thoughts on “Ladies’ Home Journal, January 1960

  1. It’s OK, Emily! I saw that headline too! But for me it reminded me that my poor mom was the victim of the highlighted weight loss regime when this magazine first ran. She had 5 children by 1960 and was still rail thin. By the time I came a long things started to change for her. Later in life I could still hear her say, “You can never be too rich or too thin” comments of her day. Thankfully she also had plenty of common sense saying so I have stored them up for my grand kids!!!

    Yeah, it’s still sad that our society has been running articles like this since the beginning of journalism. But look at who owns and edits many of these magazines. Mostly men. Do you know who was in charge of Ladies Home Journal at that time? That may shed some light.

    And, yes we are all beautiful the way we are! Thank you for that! 🙂


    • Aww, I’m sorry your mom struggled so much! I’m glad that things started to change for her by the time your were born, but completely understand how that kind of messaging could have stuck with her. My mother grew up in the 50’s and 60’s and struggled with an eating disorder before she had me and my sisters, in the 1980’s and to be honest, her behavior around food and weight was still very eating disordered while I was growing up which definitely had an impact on me, though she did try to support me and help me when I was really struggling myself. I’m glad your mom was able to express a lot of common sense as well to help balance things out and that you’ve stored that up for your grand kids! Kids definitely need good role models when it comes to everything – including attitudes towards food, weight, self esteem and self acceptance, I think you’ll do a wonderful job!

      I absolutely agree! And also, ooh! You made me do some digging so I could find out who was in charge of Ladies’ Home Journal back in the day and you hit the nail right on the head! The original publisher was definitely a man, Cyrus H. K. Curtis, and though it’s a little hard to get much information about ownership after that point, I think it’s pretty safe to say that men were in charge for the most part. ('_Home_Journal) The wikipedia page on it states that in 1970 feminists held an 11 hour sit-in at the Ladies’ Home Journal office: “As a result, they were allowed to produce a section of the magazine that August. They wanted the magazine to recognize a wider variety of choices for women’s lives.” LOVE IT! 😀

      Thank you so much for commenting!! 🙂


  2. All that shit started in the 60’s, about women having to be super thin. Before that, ladies were curvy and beautiful and everyone was happy. Then Twiggy showed up and she set the standard in the fashion industry that everyone must be a size 2. Then Kate Moss in the 90’s. Everyone says Marilyn was beautiful, but now they consider her “too big” for Hollywood. That’s insane!
    PS: Thanks for another great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for this wonderful comment!! 🙂

      It’s funny, I’ve seen ads for weird weight loss aids as far back as the 1920’s, but I definitely notice it really ramping up (at least from seeing magazines throughout the decades, I’m definitely not an expert!!) starting in the 50’s and 60’s and just getting worse throughout the decades that followed. Back then (in the 50’s, 60’s etc), eating disorders were largely unknown, no one knew how to treat them, even though it was a recognized medical condition by the late 19th century and there had been evidence of the existence of eating disorders for quite a long time even before that ( No one really started talking about eating disorders until Karen Carpenter died in 1983, and to be honest, the medical and mental health profession as a whole still doesn’t really completely understand or know how to treat them, which is really unfortunate and sad, as is the fact that research into eating disorders is so underfunded. These days you would be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t have at least some knowledge of what an eating disorder is, but we still don’t know how best to treat them.

      At this point in time, I’d much rather look like Marilyn Monroe than Kate Moss, no matter what society says, and that (for me) is a big improvement!

      Sorry for going off on a bit of a rant of sorts! This is definitely a topic I’m really passionate about – even if I can’t always put my thoughts and feelings about it into coherent sentences! – besides my own experience living with this illness for decades, I’ve known and lost way too many friends to it and I would give just up just about anything if it would mean no one else ever had to suffer with an eating disorder again.


  3. I wrote a few research papers when I was working on my Master’s degree about the ill effects of weight loss norms and how those “norms” have affected our young girls. I’m truly sorry that you were one of those girls. It sounds like you are a better person for having gone through such hard experiences and now you can help others do the same! Blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

      • I wish I did! They were on a laptop I had many moons ago. Sadly, that laptop crashed and I lost all of my work. It was actually the first time I realized that I needed to have several backups (storage) in place.


      • Aww! That’s really too bad! I’m sure your research papers were really good! If it makes you feel better, the same thing has happened to me many times – I can’t tell you how many years of poetry, stories and photos I’ve lost over the years before I finally started properly backing up my important files!


  4. I can’t wait until the day when we no longer have magazine cover after magazine cover promising to “help” us lose weight–I hate to be a Debbie Downer, I don’t think that day will ever come. There will always be somebody telling others what they need to do in order to look ‘beautiful’. There’ll always be enough people unhappy with themselves to follow this stuff and will more than likely end up disappointed and feeling even worse if they don’t lose the weight, lose the weight and gain it back, etc. Doesn’t matter if the advice is fucked up or not. And it’s up in the air if these people that say or write this shit would say it to their own family members. I say that because of something I watched last night. I’m knocked out because it’s that time of the month so I thought I’d go on a Carpenters search on youtube. I watched the E! True Hollywood Story and the A & E Biography. I can’t get over how somebody could honestly go up to an already dieting Karen Carpenter with the idea of telling her to lose some weight because she looks 30 pounds overweight on camera. It boggles the mind going up to something already stick thin and saying “You look 30 pounds overweight.” for ANY reason. And when it’s all said and done and the poor woman starves herself to death, is it ever a case of reflecting? “I told this woman that already had problems to begin with in this area that she needed to lose weight. I’m a fucking jackass.”

    when no one is made to feel shitty about their weight (no matter what their weight is)–Although I come from a different point of view. This is just my case. I take the blame. It’s half my fault. My mind is completely fucked up because I already had layers of self hatred going on in my head. It’s always been with me. It’s people that I was around in real life that kicked the ball of hatred the rest of the way. I’m one of these people that bottle, bottle, bottle my garbage up, stuff said and done to me hurts today as if it happened yesterday.And I realize it’s doing me no good. But it’s a part of me. Getting rid of this shit would be on par with cutting off my own arm. It’s just much a part of me.


    • *Huge hugs* I’m worried that day will never come too, though I have to keep telling myself it will eventually, because I worry so much about people who are suffering because of this BS and about what things will be like for the next generation – like my niece, who just turned six this year. I know all I can really do is work on myself and my own attitudes toward food and weight and all of that, so I can one day be a good role model for her when it comes to this stuff, instead of unintentionally being a negative influence.

      Aww, Karen Carpenter always gets me right in the gut, what happened to her was and is so heartbreaking. One would hope that that person who told her she looked overweight would reflect back and feel like shit, I don’t know if they ever did, but they should be ashamed. Have you ever read “Little Girl Blue: the Life of Karen Carpenter” by Randy L. Schmidt? I read it a few times (though haven’t reread it for a few years) and remember it being so good, but also so, so sad. She was an incredibly talented woman, with such a big heart and it’s just a horrible, horrible shame.

      I’ve been the same way for so long – bottling up all of the painful emotions and basically walking around like an exposed nerve, where everything that touch me hurts – every horrible comment made, every awful experience…but it’s just not a healthy way to live, it’s no way to live, really, even if it feels like it’s just how we are and it’s all we’ve ever known. Over the last few years I’ve gotten a bit better at managing these feelings, but I’m not going to lie, it’s still hard and sometimes I don’t know if I’ve really gotten better at managing it, or just better at distracting myself, but then I remember how far I’ve actually come. Healing the emotional wounds is incredibly difficult, but it’s worth it. As painful as life is a lot of the time right now, I’d take feeling the way I do today over feeling like I did for so, so many years when the pain was so constant and never ending that I thought the only way to get through it was by being horribly self-destructive because I just couldn’t see a light at the end of the tunnel and I thought that my life would always feel that horrible and painful, so there was no point even living. I’m so grateful that I don’t feel like that anymore. It took a lot of hard work – and I don’t even mean therapy, though I had a little bit of therapy here and there over the last few years, a lot of that work was internal. One thing that helped enormously was reconnecting and rebuilding relationships with people who make me feel good about myself, who I can laugh with, or cry with, or just have fun with. Also, actively doing things I enjoyed and trying new things (like sewing, which ended up being one of my favourite things to do and has been incredibly healing), and trying to recognize my own limitations and the signs that I’m burning out or becoming overwhelmed and need a break, and realizing that it’s okay to stand up for myself and say no. I could go on and on, honestly. I’m definitely not 100% “better”, but I’m much better than I was, even four or five years ago, and I know that as long as I keep going and keep working on myself and allowing myself to grow, I’m going to keep getting better and stronger and one day be the woman I truly want to be – I already like the woman I am today a hell of a lot more and that’s definitely a huge improvement!

      Sorry if this is coming across as Pollyanna-ish, or preachy or anything like that, it’s not meant to, and I’m not trying to oversimplify things either, I just wanted you to know that things CAN get better and you don’t need to feel like this forever. I thought that I was always going to feel that way and that it was such a huge part of me that getting rid of it would be, like you said, on par with cutting off my own arm, and that was terrifying – but I know now that I am SO much more than that and my worst days now (and there have been some absolutely brutal ones, especially in the last few months) are still so, so much better and easier to get through than the so-called “best” days I had even four years ago. I really hope that someday you will be able to feel like that, too, because you truly deserve it.

      I love you, Jennifer, you are a truly beautiful person and you are stronger than you think – I know how much strength it takes to even get up in the morning feeling the way you feel, and I’m sad that things have been so difficult for you for so long, but I know you can get through this and I believe in you. Please, please feel free to email me anytime. ❤


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