The Evolution of the White Rock Beverage Co.’s Girl

{fair warning: mild artistic nudity}

Only one of the other posts in this series hasn’t focused on a toy (The Evolution of Morton Salt & Coca-Cola), but it’s interesting to me for a few reasons:

1. The woman on the White Rock beverages label is from an actual work of (originally non-commercial) art: Psyche at Nature’s Mirror by Paul Thumann. White Rock purchased the rights to the painting and has used it–and variations on it–as part of their logo for about 130 years.

2. White Rock freely acknowledges the slimming of their icon:

“Over the years, depictions of Psyche have changed slightly. The 1947 model was estimated to be 2 inches taller but 15 pounds lighter than the original model. The 1975 model added another 2 inches but dropped 7 pounds and now stands at 5 foot 8 inches with a weight of 118 pounds.

Okay, so let’s do the math:

Today’s model:  5’8″, 118 pounds (BMI: 17.9=underweight)

1947 model:         5’6″, 125 pounds (BMI: 20.2=normal weight)

1892 model:         5’4″, 140 pounds (BMI: 24=still normal weight)

Avg. woman:       5’4″, 140 pounds (hey! wait a sec!)

At the risk of sounding like a skipping record (I miss records), why are the images of women–even on mundane things like bottled water!–always getting unrealistically, unhealthily thinner?

This affects people! Every week, people tell me about little children–I’m talking preschoolers, here–who are “afraid” of getting “fat.” I can’t help suspecting the endless images of unrealistic thinness everywhere are part of the reason.

And now for the pictures:






1970s (mercifully, draped) Psyche

It’s not that someone’s going to look at a bottle of White Rock and get an eating disorder. It’s just that images of idealized thinness are so ubiquitous, I fear they are becoming normal.

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3 thoughts on “The Evolution of the White Rock Beverage Co.’s Girl

  1. I like how they slimmed her down to underweight status and then draped her over. Interesting sotto voce going on there.


    P.S. Thanks for the opprotunity to use sotto voce in a sentence. I feel so brainy all of a sudden.

  2. Pingback: Ken Could be Real; Barbie, Not So Much « Rachel Marie Stone

  3. White Rock Water seems to be responding to your criticism — sort of. When you go to their website, you’re presented with “About our girl, Psyche.” You can click through 10 iterations of her image over the years, and you’re told, “It’s your right, so vote for your favorite Psyche. Click here.” Interesting. Wonder which will win. No mention of WHY they’re doing this on the website. My cynical side thinks it’s so they can defend the sexiest Psyche with the argument that they’re just giving people what they want. How many votes can your readers drum up for a realistic portrayal of a woman?

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