Free to Men; The Empress Theater

This source takes us back to 1916, when man held political and social power in the palm of his hand. In a time where women weren’t granted the right to vote and men were too submerged with the workforce to enjoy leisurely activity. Apparently, it was important matters that men stood together to steer clear of sexual hygiene issues.

Sex Talks to Start, this ad serves to promote “Short Talks for Busy Men,” an exclusive male-only meeting held at the Empress Theater. These 35-minute sessions held by The Public Education committee of the Oregon Social Hygiene Society sought to attract working, tax-paying men. These aimed to “drive home to the average minds of the citizen and taxpayer some of the significant truths regarding sex questions and the vital human problems involved in the constructive work of the social hygienists.”

The Empress Theater in Portland, Oregon would hold these meetings everyday at noon. “Short and right to the point so that the business and professional workers whom the society is trying to reach will lose no time for their business affairs.” Topics include but are not limited to themes such as “What the Physician Knows,” “Commercializing the Sex Instinct,” “When a Man Marries,” and “When Fire Fights Fire”

The most interesting point of this article is the last sentence, “All these meetings are free to men.” What does this tell us about the Empress Theater during this period? Clearly, working men were the targeted audience. Perhaps these meetings were thought to provoke awareness of location and amenities toward the most powerful demographic? This not only tells us how the venue chooses to promote themselves, but it also gives some insight of the cultural influences of the time. Perhaps the working class was unavailable during business hours and these types of events would make it possible to bring in more patrons during their lunch hour? Perhaps the young men of that time were more focused on their careers than getting settled with wives? One thing’s for sure, men held the power.