Back When Women Wanted to Get Fat: 26 Funny Vintage Ads Promoting Weight Gain for Women From Between the 1930s and 1950s

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Believe it or not, in these thin-obsessed times, there were small pockets of history in which the messaging to women was not “don’t eat, be forever small”, but rather, curvy is better, so gain some pounds dammit and be more attractive.

According to Pretty Sweet, America currently has a $66 billon weight loss industry. That’s 66 billion with a “b” spent by Americans each year in a usually unsuccessful attempt to lose weight with brands like Weight Watchers and Nutrisystem. Even more surprising might be that back in the day there used to be a thriving weight gain industry.

It’s true, supplement brands like WATE-ON told women that skinny was out and they needed to gain weight to attract men. In fact, much of the time time the secret of their weight gain product was “ironized yeast.”

Below are some of the best vintage advertisements promising women weight gain from the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. Also, the women in these old ads were by no means “obese,” but certainly are “overweight” compared to today’s magazine models.

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