True Confessions (originally published by Fawcett Publications in 1922; currently published by Dorchester Media) is a magazine of ‘true confessions’ — still today one of the largest markets for short fiction stories — aimed at a young female readership between the ages of 20 and 35.
The magazines are highly collectible, in no small part due to the gorgeous illustrated covers of movie stars of the age. What’s not to love?
Even when they used photographs of models, the vintage style hooks me.
What I’ve found in the vintage issues of True Confessions is a masterful combination of effective manipulation. Here the publishers combine the salacious lure of gossip magazines and tabloids with the traditional women’s publications fare of subtle (ish) & simultaneous pitches for products & lifestyle — a lifestyle which says, literally, that a “a girl’s main function is to charm” in order to “please a male”.
I should be offended — and part of me is! — but I just can’t help falling in love with the grand illustration, the vintage glamour…
Perhaps the publishers win… But not for the reasons they/you think. While I find the issues intoxicating, I’m not (completely?) sold on the beauty & charm in product or lifestyle. What I want to buy is the recipe for such success — and that’s not something they’re selling. So I keep paging through them, looking at each ‘ingredient,’ hoping I can figure it out. And that’s my confession. A real confession, not the short fiction variety.