Diet & the 1920s Reducing Craze

Reducing in the "Roaring Twenties"

An advertisement for Flo-ra-zona soap
which claimed to reduce fat quickly.
Click to enlarge.

In a general sense the term “reducing” in the twenties meant the physical reduction of the body and the attempt to create a smaller self. In other words, it meant dieting and losing weight to become thin. The “reducing craze” and the need to “reduce one’s shape” implied an attempt to create a standardized and thin figure that was in line with the fashion of the period.

Between 1900 and 1920 an obsession over fat and physical culture in the United States developed as a result of a number of historical factors. This obsession, later deemed "Reduceomania" by Photoplay magazine, was paralleled by changes in the ideal standards of beauty for women, industrialism, the emergence of a consumer culture, and the rise of the Hollywood star system.

This site explores the history of the "Reducing Craze", the origins of the craze, as well as the shift toward a health-based system composed of diet and exercise, or "Reduceosanity", in the late 1920s.