“Always the bridesmaid, never a bride”

Oddly enough the phrase originated from a 1925 Listerine ad. The big selling point was how this antibacterial product can help women with halitosis (bad breath) get a man. There were two cultural phenomena happening during this period.

1) An emphasis on cleanliness. In fact, taking baths was seen as unnecessary for most of human history. Many believed it could lead to getting sick. But that changed as we moved to cities and bleach became a more widely available product.

2) As Betty Friedan pointed out in her essential book, The Feminine Mystique, women moved to the workforce during the War and were then asked to go home. During that time period, women were indoctrinated to find meaning in their lives as caregivers and were treated as second-class citizens.

It had me thinking about why is Utah last in the country in terms of women’s rights. I’m not suggesting that an advertisement in 1925 that it led to it. I am saying that when you tell a story long enough, loud enough we can begin to confuse fiction with fact.