A Look at Charlton's Career Girl Romances
Of all the Charlton titles, I can conclusively say that Career Girl Romances is my favorite. Not just a hodge-podge of random romantic stories like some titles, Career Girl Romances focuses on girls who dream big. Unfortunately, some of the stories in the pages of Career Girl Romances are probably the ones that make people take such issue with the romance comics for being sexist and harmful. And yes, as you read these pages, you will see that these definitely don't have the socially progressive message that say, DC did or even the memorable "Nobody Wants a Girl Auto Mechanic!" that appeared in a later issue of Career Girl Romances. But, the following stories are a part of comic book history nonetheless, as well as the history of how women and relationships were depicted in the '60s and '70s. With these stories that are less than savory for us readers today, the woman's career is introduced on the splash page -- but by the last page of the story, she has abandoned her ambitions for marriage. Let's have a closer look shall, we?
"Formula for Love" (1968) follows a "trained laboratory analyst" and scientist, Miss Halleck who always tries to maintain "cool, scientific detachment toward all men."
But, by the end of the story, our Miss Halleck has abandoned her career without any qualms. Meh, science!
In this next example, "Tennis or Kisses?" Marla Lund is a tennis pro. She loves her career, and excels at it.
By the end of the story, Marla has caught the heart of Reese Garner, and Reese has captured the heart of Marla's stern coach. Marriage is on the docket, and professional tennis will no longer be a part of Marla's life as a married woman.
In "No Time for Kisses..." our leading lady is a show-stopping singer with adoring fans.
But as it turns out, Carl is a heart-stopper. Singing falls by the wayside, and soon, love and marriage are the "only career that matters!"
Now, "His Love Will Destroy Me" is a little different. From the splash page it looks like this story will turn out like the rest and love will trump career.
However, Gabe is a hunky egalitarian and decides that he and his girl should team up and pool their talents. Phew!
So yes, it's true. These stories aren't glowing beacons of progressivism. But, they do give us an idea of the overarching mentality of women's autonomy during the mid-century. It is interesting to see in these examples that marriage was definitely seen as a career path, and not just a practical part of life. Thank goodness for Gabe there at the end!