A glance at advertising's gendered and racialized history across the past century reveals that women's relationships to advertising, and to the larger consumer culture which fosters our engagements with advertising's many vehicles, have been and remain complicated and contested. This article explores a series of associations between beauty advertising and women's empowerment, in which ads link women's "inarticulate longings" for sensuality, self-assuredness, respect, and space-claiming to the use of particular products. From soap to hair care to cosmetics, and from inviting celebrations of strength to tired resurrections of stereotypes, with confusing offers in between, women receive and deliberate about these bids for their loyalties and their dollars.

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