“In my sex fantasy, nobody ever loves me for my mind.”
Electricity And Home Market Vibrators
Towards the end of the nineteenth century, electricity was reaching affluent urban dwellings and women succumbed to marketing that touted the wonders of domestic technologies. Yes, indeed.Â Women were about to take matters into their hands so to speak.
Believing household chores would be minimized; women became ravenous consumers of home appliances.Â Author Rebecca Maines gives the following timeline of electrical home appliances: 1889 the sewing machine, in 1899 the fan, teakettle, toaster, and vibrator, aka, electromedical device.Â In fact, between 1900 and the 1920â€™s Sears, Roebuck and Company carried a home motor equipped with a vibrator along with attachments for churning, mixing, beating, grinding, and operating a fan. (Women probably got hot just thinking about the possibilities!)
Supply and Demand
Demand grew for home-use vibrators as womenâ€™s magazines advertised the health benefits and cost savings. For example, at the end of the 1800â€™s a medical appointment fee for hysteria ran $2-$3 dollars while a quality home-use vibrator cost between $6 and $30.Â Depending on the number of French novels a woman felt compelled to read, a home vibrator offered significant savings over hysteria-related medical visits.
By the end of the 1920â€™s cultural perceptions concerning vibrators changed rather abruptly. While hysteria treatments under male-medical control were considered proper, women purchasing home-use vibrators became suspect. A stag film of the 1920â€™s called Widowâ€™s Delight depicted an unmarried woman using a vibrator on her genitals for sexual pleasure. WHAT? This hysteria thing was about gratification and not disease? The social smokescreen of vibrator use for hysteria dissipated into a controversial debate over womenâ€™s sexuality and morality. Vibrators stopped being viewed as health-giving devices and garnered the reputation of tawdry sex toy. Between the 1930â€™s and the 1960â€™s vibrator ads were no longer seen in mainstream â€œreputableâ€ magazines, and doctors ceased treating hysteria. In 1952, the American Psychiatric Association removed hysteria from its list of diseases.
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