Women on cigar labels were portrayed as voluptuous, alluring, mysterious, and seductive By far, the most popular cigar label theme is that of the woman. Right from the start, and into the Golden Age of cigar labels sex appeal was used to attract male customers. Beautiful women, scantily clad, and eye catching, were created to entice the mostly male customers to try a cigar. It all seemed so erotic and phallic.
Women of cigar labels ranged widely from young and innocent to sultry and buxom. Semi-nude women were common, but women were also depicted as demure, and sophisticated. All were used to tease a man and grab his attention.
Many women were depicted as goddesses, angels, warriors, appearing in Greek, Roman and or Egyptian motifs. Some images repeat themselves including; women playing instruments, women surrounded by cherubs, women holding laurels, staffs, swords, and shields. These secondary symbols also appealed to the male customer’s fantasy world and played on themes of patriotism, industrial progress, comfort, and fertility.
It must have been fun for the artists to create women of their dreams. Imagine a man smoking, staring at his favorite label, and then smiling widely as he fantasized about the girl on the box.
Cigar labels also featured popular women of their day. Many historical women , actresses, opera singers, and upper class socialites were depicted. This not only made the label attractive but also suggested the cigars were of the highest quality and sophistication.
Other cigar labels offered romanticized images. There were woman in nature &, mythology, and women being romanticized by nobility. These added to the male fantasy world, but also appealed to women who were a fast growing part of the cigar market at the turn of the 19thcentury.