A sexist vintage ad from the 1970s, promoting some fancy two-tone men’s shoes.
Our socio-economic lives now include advertising in a significant way, and it is purposefully created to appeal to customers’ hearts and minds. It appeals to our anxieties, aspirations, and psyche.
In this article, we’ll turn back the pages of history and examine some of the offensive or misogynistic print advertisements from companies that sought to market their goods by endorsing misogyny and male chauvinism and encouraging women to feel insecure.
The ideals of the past are reflected in vintage advertisements, which are a window into the past. It’s difficult to believe some of the early print ads went live because they were so overtly offensive. Consider the response if any of these ads were displayed today.
This ad for pants depicted a woman as a tiger-skin rug, boasting: ‘After one look at his Mr. Leggs slacks, she was ready to have him walk all over her’.
But when it came to the sexist themes, Mad Men-style ad men knew what they were doing and that controversy and sex sells.
Companies would continue going as far as they could as long as the advertisements were effective in moving goods. People then were already complaining. However, a few stern letters mailed to the business in question could be dismissed with ease.
Even today’s advertisements objectify women, but businesses today could never get away with what they did just a few decades ago. In some advertisements, the husbands groan, step on, and blow smoke in the faces of their spouses.
Major companies like Kellogg’s used discriminatory catchphrases like “The Harder A Wife Works, The Cuter She Looks.” among others. “Women are soft and gentle, but they hit things” begins the Volkswagen advertisement, which gloats about the company’s durable automobiles.
Other businesses propagated nonsense that is now known to be superstition. 7-Up advised mothers to mix the beverage with their infants’ milk. The phrase “the doctor’s favorite brand” was used to promote Camel cigarettes.
“Don’t worry darling, you didn’t burn the beer!”. A sexist vintage advert from Schlitz.
A creepy vintage Pitney Bowe Postage Meter. “Is it always illegal to kill a woman?”
“More doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette”.
“So the harder a wife works, the cuter she looks!”. 1939.
“If your husband ever finds out you’re not ‘store-testing’ for fresher coffee…” starts this ad that ran in LIFE magazine back in August 1952.
“Blow in her face and she’ll follow you anywhere”.
By Tipalet in the 1960s.
“Show her it’s a man’s world”. Van Heusen Man’s World ties: “For men only! … brand new man-talking, power-packed patterns that tell her it’s a man’s world… and make her so happy it is.” 1951.
There were even ads that promoted sugary drinks for toddlers, asking: How soon is too soon? Not soon enough.
Light up, Mom! This ad claimed you need never feel over-smoked. Perhaps they hadn’t heard of lung cancer.
‘Men are better than women!’ This advert for sweaters said wives were a bit of a drag’ on a mountain.
“It’s yours with this quick, fresh lift”.
Do you seek a woman who can completely take care of every aspect of your household cleaning? We’ll then it’s time to get the Addis Wedding Set.
Want to have some fun? How about some domestic violence before heading out with your buddies?
Not the best choice of lemons.
“Another woman is waiting for every man”. “No wife wants her husband to carry the memory of her morning breath to work with him. The attractive women he meets during the day don’t have it.” 1950s.
An advert intended to shame men into joining the army.
The secret of successful marriages is that brides need to cook for their husbands right from the day of their wedding.
“Presenting the Losers”. Female objectification at its best.
“The game is broomsticks”.
“A cigar brings out the caveman in you. There’s a man-size feeling of power in smoking a cigar.” 1959.
“You mean a woman can open it?” Alcoa Aluminum put out this gem of an ad back in 1953. Even a woman could open a glass bottle… “Easily — without a knife blade, a bottle opener, or even a husband! All it takes is a dainty grasp, and an easy, two-finger twist — and the catsup is ready to pour.”
“Congratulations, dear, but exactly what does an assistant vice president do?” 1960s.
A creepy vintage ad: “Because innocence is sexier than you think”. 1975.
“Want him to be more of a man? Try being more of a woman”. 1974.
As explained by the kind folks from Lux detergent back in the 1940s: “Dorothy, 25, lives at home. She has a job, yet she can’t get ahead. She dresses well, talks, and dances well — yet she is seldom asked out — and never a second time. She thinks she is misunderstood. She blames others when her carelessness is to blame.”
“Look – I’m a mother!”. 1940s.
“Up off your knees, girls. Shinyl Vinyl, the no-wax floor, is here.” (About Congoleum flooring). 1970s.
“I’m Jo. Fly me.” Jo (and another stewardess named Cheryl) were part of a National Airlines ad that even sparked outrage at the time. 1970s.
“Where there’s a man… there’s a Marlboro”. This vintage magazine advertisement from 1970 also included this absurd line: “The cigarette designed for men that women like.”
You won him – now you must keep him. 1935.
Advertisement for automatic transmission.
“This is a computer?”
Advertisement for STDs.
An ad for Drummond sweaters.
“Should a gentleman offer a Tiparillo to a violinist?”
An ad from Hoover company.
Van Heusen shirts.
Hotpoint dishwashers: “Please…let your wife come into the living room!”.
“Does your husband look younger than you do?”
“4 out of 5 men want Oxfords…in the new Van Heusen styles”.
Canadian Patriotic Fund.
A cigarette pack dressed up as a woman.
Acme, 1963: The most important quality in coffee is how much it will please your man.
Brown & Williamson, 1967: “The best ones are thin and rich.”
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