Adventure! Domination! Biology!

These images both depict ceremonially scarred women, face on, naked at least to the waist. The one on the left is from a popular college textbook from the 1940s. The one on the right is from a Men’s Adventure magazine, otherwise known as a “sweat” or “armpit” pulp, from the 1950s.

In this article I suggest, despite their quite different contexts, these images served a common purpose. They invited the viewer to enter a protected sphere where fantasies of superiority and domination were reinforced and could be comfortably indulged.