‘Chocolate Munchers’

The First World War provided great opportunities for those whose pleasure in life was expressing disapproval of others.
Here’s an article from the Daily Mail of 1917:

chocolate munchers


  1. Bill
    Posted March 10, 2016 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    One wonders whether the conspicuous consumption of chocolates at a time of shortages was not simply a disdainful display of wealth. Not something of which one might expect the Mail to disapprove per se, of course, so perhaps it is the frivolity and the fact it is being done by women and in public that makes it problematic.

    • Posted March 10, 2016 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

      The shortages are the excuse for the complaint, yes. But don’t you think there’s a real misogyny underlying this? That repetition of ‘big fat chocolates’, as though the women were under the control of some perverse desire. There’s disgust here, and surely a hint that ‘big, fat’ might refer to the women as well as the chocolates. Very like the daily mail of a century later, with its constant hints that women should keep their desires and figures under control.
      To me the psychology of the writer of the article seems a lot more problematic than the sweet-eaters.

  2. Bill
    Posted March 10, 2016 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

    Yet the women are described as “dainty” and “well-dressed”. The only clearly pejorative term is “unoccupied”. But you’re right that there is something unhealthy here, even if the original intention was to encourage people to comply with voluntary sugar rationing. Of course, I’m a bit unclear what the “better use” of the sugar might be. Baking cakes to send to the troops perhaps?

  3. Roger
    Posted March 12, 2016 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

    This and your post on “TRibunal Exemptions” a few days make it look rather as though the Daily Mail was hinting at civilians and/or women dodging their duty or behaving irresponsibly. Is it just the occasional article or are these a regular or even frequent feature of the paper?

    • Posted March 13, 2016 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

      Much as today, self-righteousness was a pretty permanent feature of the Daily Mail, and the war gave plenty of opportunity for pointing the finger at anyone who seemed to be doing less than his or her patriotic duty.

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