Book of the Week: "Sirens of Chrome"

What Women Really Think
March 12 2010 6:06 PM

Book of the Week: "Sirens of Chrome"


At the start of this new decade, from the pulpit of his occasional, grandiose New York Times column , Bono called for the "return of the automobile as sexual object." He was referring to the lines and curves of the cars themselves, but it's no secret that car manufacturers have long relied on the marketing strategy of placing their wares in close proximity to beautiful women for a little borrowed allure. The pretty-girls-using-transportation motif may have moved elsewhere lately- bike blogs are filled with photos of cycling ingenues, in it for love rather than money -but for most of the 20 th century, it rested solidly with the auto. So a history of the women used to sell cars doubles as a shorthand history of the evolving tastes of consumers-in women and cars, and how best to objectify both. Margery Krevsky's Sirens of Chrome: The Enduring Allure of Auto Show Models , a Mini Cooper-proportioned coffee-table book, is a visual romp that's a bit short on narrative, context, and criticism but so seductively fun to look at, you won't care. And that fact tells you about all you need to know about how the car-model thing works, right?


( Images courtesy of the Archives of the Chicago Automobile Trade Association and the National Automotive History Collection at Detroit Public Library , used with permission of the author. )

Noreen Malone is a senior editor at New York magazine.



Scalia’s Liberal Streak

The conservative justice’s most brilliant—and surprisingly progressive—moments on the bench.

Scotland Votes to Remain in U.K.

There’s a Way to Keep Ex-Cons Out of Prison That Pays for Itself. Why Don’t More States Use It?

The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B

Can Democrats Keep Counting on Republicans to Offend Women as a Campaign Strategy?


Theo’s Joint and Vanessa’s Whiskey

No sitcom did the “Very Special Episode” as well as The Cosby Show.


The Other Huxtable Effect

Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.

Cliff Huxtable Explains the World: Five Lessons From TV’s Greatest Dad

Why Television Needs a New Cosby Show Right Now

  News & Politics
Sept. 18 2014 8:20 PM A Clever Attempt at Explaining Away a Vote Against the Farm Bill
Sept. 18 2014 6:02 PM A Chinese Company Just Announced the Biggest IPO in U.S. History
The Slate Quiz
Sept. 18 2014 11:44 PM Play the Slate News Quiz With Jeopardy! superchampion Ken Jennings.
  Double X
Sept. 18 2014 8:07 PM Crying Rape False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 18 2014 1:23 PM “It’s Not Every Day That You Can Beat the World Champion” An exclusive interview with chess grandmaster Fabiano Caruana.
Brow Beat
Sept. 18 2014 4:33 PM The Top 5 Dadsplaining Moments From The Cosby Show
Future Tense
Sept. 18 2014 6:48 PM By 2100 the World's Population Could Be 11 Billion
  Health & Science
Sept. 18 2014 3:35 PM Do People Still Die of Rabies? And how do you know if an animal is rabid?
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.