What does the writing on the bottom of the "white man's burden" Pear's soap advertisment mean?what does the writing on the bottom of the picture mean? here's what the advertisment says :   “The...

What does the writing on the bottom of the "white man's burden" Pear's soap advertisment mean?

what does the writing on the bottom of the picture mean? here's what the advertisment says :

 

“The first step to lightening the White Man’s Burden is through teaching the virtues of cleanliness. Pear’s Soap is a potent factor in brightening the dark corners of the earth as civilisation advances, while amongst the cultured of all nations it holds the highest place – it is the ideal toilet soap.”


Asked on by shkr27

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The white man's burden was a phrase that Rudyard Kipling coined in his poem of that title.  It referred to the burden that he said white people took on when they tried to civilize the other people of the world.  The copy below the picture in this ad is using that idea to try to sell Pear's soap.

What the copy means is that Pear's soap could be used help to civilize the other people of the world.  As the non-white people learn to keep themselves clean, they will be taking a step towards being more civilized.  Pear's soap was trying to portray itself as something so powerful that it could help to civilize the uncivilized while still being good for people in the most "cultured" nations.

The Pear's soap people were trying to associate their brand with the wave of imperialism that was sweeping America.  They felt it would help the image of their brand and allow them to sell more soap.

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