Thursday, September 29, 2016

Bronze Thrills

Bronze Thrills
November 1959
Volume 8 Number 11
Good Publishing Company, Fort Worth


"America's Greatest Negro True Story Magazine"

As nasty as the men's magazine could be, I think the women's magazines were darker and more sordid.  The confessional magazine dates back to 1919, but they play off earlier morality plays going by centuries.  The form survives today in various forms, from daytime TV to Oprah book club autobiographies to Jezebel confessional essays.

The format is: Sin, Suffer, Repent.  For the women's magazines, they're often not so much sinners as victims, the only sin being hooking up with the wrong man.

Minister's Wife In a Trap: A woman with a shady past marries an understanding pastor.
Bad for Each Other: A husband wants more children than his wife.  Deals with spousal rape and abortion.
Born to be a Jailbird: A young woman is coerced into helping her boyfriend's robbery, and is punched out and raped for her efforts.
Product of the Slums: A girl is arrested for robbery but finds love after her prison term. 
One Real Love: Young love turns to rape and stalking.

Also, love advice from The Man of Mystery:


Matchmaking, diet advice, household tips,

The ads are mostly the usual pulp fare.  We've got the ads for "Not an Abortion Pill, Wink Wink":


And stuff like this, which just makes me cry:


Overall, one of the most depressing magazines I've ever read.  As miserable as a black woman's life must have been in the 1950s, they read this magazine about people worse off than them to feel better about their lot in life.  Weirdly, there is almost no mention at all about racism, inequality, or bigotry.  There's a brief mention that a woman's husband might not have gotten a job because of his skin color, but it's mentioned in hushed tones, like it was too horrible to say out loud.  This is a magazine not afraid to talk about child rape and illegal abortions, so I don't think it was out of propriety or censorship.

Bronze Thrills was originally titled World's Messenger.  Good Publishing Company also published Hep, Sepia, and Jive.  Other similar titles include Copper Romance, Brown, Tan, Tan Confessions, Color, Hue, and Duke.

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