Nikita Richardson
August 04, 2015 2:37 pm

Everyday, we’re reminded of the ways in which women have made major advancements in a not-so-long-amount-of-time: We can own property, we can vote, we can live on our own — we can run in marathons! But sometimes, entertaining/troubling reminders of the way things used to be pop up, and it’s like ‘woah.’ For example, a little glimmer we just got of advice magazines were offering on how to be a so-called ‘lady author.’

Time Magazine came across an eye-opening Life Magazine photo spread on author and former model Jeanne Rejaunier, whose 1969 novel, The Beauty Trap, explored the less glamorous side of the modeling industry. Apparently, the magazine’s editors felt they really needed to cater to Rejaunier’s mostly female audience with a steamy (and sexist) photo essay depicting her day-to-day life.

“A lady author must: exercise in a bikini,” Life wrote beneath one photo of Rejaunier. “Writing a minor best-seller is sedentary work, but when promoting one a lithe figure is very useful.”

Other things a ‘lady author’ must do to promote her work? Swim a little. Have her own billboard. Get photographed in bed. Commune with nature — in a Victorian-era dress no less.

What about those man authors? Do they have to do all that too?

The publishing world has changed a lot in the decades between now and then (though many would argue not enough), and we feel confident saying that it’s we ‘lady authors’ who will have the last laugh. In 2015 alone, a female writer has topped the New York Times Bestseller List 22 out of the last 30 weeks — we’d say we ‘lady authors’ are doing pretty well for ourselves! Though it certainly is interesting to peak through this window to the past.

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Female authors who are just as badass as their fictional heroines

[Image via Shutterstock]

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