The print culture of contraceptives
Advertising and the circulation of birth control knowledge
in The business of birth control
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Chapter 3 uncovers how firms attempted to demonstrate their authority in birth control through the promotion of their brands in a range of print. Increasingly prominent and explicit advertising featured in a variety of respectable and non-respectable newspapers and magazines, in mail-order catalogues, and formed part of a plethora of medical and non-medical books on sex and birth control throughout the interwar period. It was this increasing visibility in print that resulted in a backlash against this new and modern public discourse on sexual topics. Of particular concern to medical authorities, birth control advocates and social conservatives were firms’ own advertising publications that were often shaped into medical tracts, some of which were delivered unsolicited to the homes of consumers. But such tracts confused unknowing consumers who were unable to discern what they considered legitimate medical contraceptive knowledge and commercial knowledge. Such was the blurring of medical, sexual and commercial publications that even authorities like Marie Stopes could not distinguish between them.

The business of birth control

Contraception and commerce in Britain before the sexual revolution

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