Holy crap, I’m confused! And apparently so was the team that assembled today’s featured comic. Taken from the pages of Polly Pigtails, another Parents’ Magazine publication from the late 1940s. “Tizzie Gets Beautiful” presents the story of a young lady who, like Dirinda from a previous post, bemoans the lack of attention paid upon her by boys. Tizzie’s nemesis is also, like Dirinda’s, named Mary, though this time it’s Mary Lou, a new girl in town who has the audacity to be pretty.
Polly Pigtails wasn’t a comic book, per se. It featured a variety of different content, from short stories to fashion articles to craft ideas and comics, all aimed at pre-teen girls. This makes it another excellent source to examine how post-war media both reflected the lives of young girls and tried to shape them. The artwork in “Tizzie Gets Beautiful” is quite good and enjoyable to view. The story though… Well, read it for yourself. Let’s see if you’re as lost as I am once you’ve finished it.
Hmm. I’m not sure what the last panel of that story was trying to convey. The boys were obviously paying more attention to Tizzie than they had on page one. She doesn’t seem to think that her beauty treatment was the reason they bought her sodas and offered to take her to the movies though, so I can only assume that the boys were showing her affection because her cheerleading skills were superior to Mary Lou’s, which she amply demonstrates by yelling the rousing cheer “Yaaay Team!” and doing a backflip in the next to last panel. Either that or she slipped on someone’s sweat rag.
It’s also not clear whether her club won the game or not, though I’m assuming they did. The reason for the boys’ renewed attention is a little sketchy. The comic should probably have ran another page, and perhaps it originally did and was trimmed for space. The ending seems chopped up. It was as if the final battle scene in Star Wars had been cut off before Luke had used the force and then all of a sudden you were watching Princess Leia hang a medal on him. You’d know he did something heroic, but what did he do?
It’s also confusing that the baseball game morphed into basketball at the end, or maybe Tizzie’s mother was just as confused as I am. “Baseball. Basketball. It’s one of those silly ball games. Maybe they’ll hit a field goal. Or maybe they’ll score a hat trick. Oooo, I love hats!” Women should leave sports to men and stay in the kitchen, or in the case of Tillie’s mother, on the porch reading the newspaper. But I don’t think it’s Tizzie’s mother who’s confused; it’s the writers. Tizzie is holding a baseball bat behind her back in the story’s opening panel, so obviously someone wasn’t paying attention the storyline. Or perhaps Tizzie is just going to use it to club that tramp Mary Lou over the head as she walks by.
Whatever the sport, Tizzie’s transformation from homely tomboy to beauty queen is courtesy of Henri L’Amor, master stylist. He manages to take Tizzie’s simple blonde locks and transform them into… Holy heck! Look at that hair in panel 4 on page 21. Fifteen dollars! You, sir, should be paying her fifteen dollars in compensation for the emotional trauma caused by that atrocity. No wonder the boys don’t mention your beauty treatment, Tizzie. They’re just being nice to you and trying not to laugh.
“Tizzie Gets Beautiful” is a typical story of that era. Unpopular girl is jealous of popular girl and tries to be somebody she isn’t so that she becomes popular too, only she discovers that boys like her better when she’s just herself. It’s a common theme even today, though pressures to conform to mainstream social standards are less urgent today then they were in the 1940s. Girls today, in Tizzie’s situation, would probably not try to emulate Mary Lou; they’d just dye their hair bright red, get their nose pierced and become goths.
What we learned from this story:
1. Boys like cheerleaders.
2. Boys don’t notice beauty treatments.
3. It hurts to be beautiful.
4. It’s expensive to be beautiful.
5. Women know nothing about sports
Moral of the story: You don’t need to be beautiful to get the boys to like you; you only need to be a cheerleader.
(From Polly Pigtails #22, November 1947)