1. I think here author did a great analysis about topic..Great efforts shown..Keep working and posting!!

  2. Awesome collection of ads. I really love the styles from back there – also, I love how some things are much more direct/witty. Makes for good advertising.

  3. Wow, these are ridiculous! Such a great (I say great in the sense that they are enlightening) insight into that era!

  4. some of us are commenting on how ads today depict men as dumb and idiotic but when i wondered to myself if my boyfriend or dad are offeneded i came to the comclusion (assumption) that they probably are not and when I searched for the answer as to why that is I concluded that maybe because men have a long held history behind them telling them that they are strong and dominent they don’t even realize this is happening. Or maybe if they are being seen as dumb at home, it is still a woman’s world to them. if men were portrayed as being subservient to women in the work place there would be much more of an uproar from them about it.. and in the same vein women had a long history of this type of stereotype behind them and look how long it too us to stand up for what we wanted and went against these roles.. and we very obviously still are.

  5. I love me some canned soup, ketchup and a vacuum but DAAAMN!

  6. A lot of “vintage” ads are fabricated, but I’m curious, how did you verify their authenticity? I still hear these sentiments about gender “differences”, softened up a bit. In church today, someone said, “I guess it’s good that more women are finding success in the workplace, but I won’t get into that. It remains the sacred duty of men to provide for their families–food to eat and a roof over their heads. Men need to prepare to be providers.” He wasn’t TRYING to be offensive, but I interpreted his words as, “Men are inferior at family care and belong in the workplace where their skills can be useful, whereas women should find a good man to depend on and stay home to fulfill their life’s purpose, as GOD intended.” Each family must find the dynamic that works for them, and adjust as circumstances dictate, I say. These kinds of ads are funny, until they feel terribly relevant to views on gender today.

  7. Not sure if it is true or not, but I did read that it appears many of these ads are altered. So I’m not sure how accurate they all are. Not to say that advertising back then was not demeaning to women still. But I don’t think we’ve come very far. It’s just packaged differently. Other posters have mentioned ads nowadays making men look stupid. I’d also have to mention the hyper sexualization of women and girls in advertising now is everywhere. Look at how many ads only show female body parts in sexual ways, not even faces and relate them to objects like cars and alcohol. There was a viral video awhile back about that trend and it made me sick. I love fashion and beauty like many women, but often times the ads go too far. I think generations after us are going to shake their heads the same way we are doing at the Mad Men era.

  8. Didn’t mean to be anonymous – the last comment was mine.

  9. Anonymous says...

    This is a brilliant topic to open up, Joanna. I’m reading the comments and I’m fascinated by the reaction based on age of the commentator. My grandmother, and actually my mother, frankly, as she was born at the very beginning of the baby boom (1946), lived these kind of relationships. To be honest, it’s why I was turned off marriage. I’m forty-two, and in a great relationship, but at the age of ten I’d already decided that marriage was a bad deal for women based on what I saw my grandmothers endure and my timid mother choose (to live through her husband). Obviously, things are different now for a younger generation of women, and even to some degree for mine, but it has left a sour taste in my mouth that I’m only now coming to terms with. (As someone above said, this stuff isn’t funny – some of us are “effing messed up because of it.” :)) I have no regrets, but I am conscious of how what came before has shaped my life and my choices.

    One thing that is very interesting to me is that I’ve seen a shift during my career. I work in a male-dominated profession (I’m an economist/statistician). When I started out, in the early 1990s, the older men who were my bosses were on the whole a bunch of chauvinist jerks. Thankfully, as the leadership has gradually shifted and women have achieved more scholastically than men in many fields in the last twenty years, I have seen women gain greater respect and appreciation in both my field and in my office. I can confidently say that I don’t face much of a glass ceiling in my career anymore. Whether or not I’ll choose to take the leadership is another matter (there’s more to life…).

  10. Absolutely love the blog! just added you to my follow list, can’t wait to see more updates!

    Hope you find the time to check out mine!


  11. Lady Jane says...

    @anon 12:14 Yes I agree with you that women do have to “fight for the right to use contraceptives”..I mean I go to planned parenthood to get free birth control, because I make 300 a week and can’t afford it, also I don’t use it as prevention of pregnancy, but for my cyst, because I would get very heavy per. and BC helped control that and I no longer suffered from loosing too much Uterus lining, which the cyst increased…Just imagine the women who have to pay the co-pay or full price of BC! However, I have to admit we do already have a lot in AMERICA, we have condoms, we have plan b, the abortion pill, we are most favored in the court of law when it comes to divorce, rape, and child custody. We have battered women shelters, we have more donations and awareness for breast cancer. Men on the otherhand don’t really have anything except for condoms when it comes to pregnancy prevention, where is the male bc?? and as for divorce court, or child custody they don’t get custody, instead they have to pay child support,they almost never get the option of having to raise their kid and the mother pay child support. Men don’t really get too much prostate cancer awareness. Men don’t have battered men shelters, (now before you ladies/men start laughing) this applies to the gay men who have been beatened to a pulp by their partner with no where to turn to..actually it doesn’t even have to apply to only gay men, I’ve seen civil cases of straight men being beatened by their wives or teenage daughters, very upsetting stuff actually. Don’t pretend that women are frail and weak because they aren’t, there were women in the Soviet army that used BIG GUNS and actually FOUGHT and kicked ass just like any guy. Girls in the Israeli army used AK47s in combat. Just remember who gets drafted in the war in America. The disposable males always.

  12. Anonymous says...

    These are fascinating. We’ve come a long way, but still have a way to go. Love your blog, Joanna.

  13. Anonymous says...

    To the poster who commented about how the Kenwood ad appears to be from the mid-1990s – no, it’s from 1961, 51 years ago.

    (It’s true the people have a fairly timeless look to them, but the model of the mixer tipped me off – clearly circa 1960s or 1970s – so I did a little digging and it’s 1961.)

    I’m not making any comment about how far we have or have not come… just as someone who graduated from high school/started college in 1995 and really feels like it was yesterday, I KNEW that was not from the mid-90s.

  14. Anonymous says...

    not to be a total buzzkill to the first poster/everyone else who thinks we have come so far, but we currently live in a country where women are having to FIGHT for their right to use contraceptives, to have health care that is on par with men, in both cost and quality. where women are subjagated in shows like mad men, and relgated to positions of power within politics based on how much they appeal to repressed republican men (bachman and palin, i am looking at you) while women who have worked hard and thought hard and been of service, but perhaps don’t play that game are laughed at for their ankles.

    i know that our advertisments today are not so obviously sexist, but it is still there. america has not changed fast enough, we have men running for political office on the strength of how much they will repress the rights of women once they are elected. these ads are nothing, compared to that.

    disclaimer: i did not have time to read every comment on here, just was horrified by the first few that seemed to think this is in our distant past. nope!

  15. Beth says...

    I feel like there can’t really be any constructive dialogue in these comments because most of the women here, excluding the ones who have replied to others, are choosing to ignore a topic that is actually a real issue in today’s present time. I’m not talking about the peeing in front of your husband, but of MEN’s issues AS WELL as WOMEN’s issues..First of my grandmother a hispanic women immigrated here in the 40’s and she had a job selling fruit and was treated like s***t by the very same women in these ads…Women back then DID have the option of working let’s not forget that.

  16. Anonymous says...

    These adds are amazing! It kills me that it sounds as if women only want appliances for Christmas! Also, i think choosing to maintain some privacy in regards to peeing, etc., is not being repressed or ashamed. I don’t think we have to share every bodily function with one another. Privacy and gentility can be a good thing. Each to her own.

  17. I’m happy that women have made so much progress since those years. These ads are outrageous!

  18. Lady Jane says...

    @anon 8:48 I totally agree with you! I am a woman too and am seeing a downward spiral!
    @anon 4:22, I know right! wtf didn’t we pee and POOP in front of our parents at one point geeze, the very same parents that we would become with our spouse in the future! Pooping yeah that’s a little too far, but t PEE and farting who the hell cares. all the girls I know fart and burp in front of the bf’s its just normal, y hold it all in and be bloated all day..

  19. Anonymous says...

    Wow, it’s a good thing we now live in the 2012, where women are treated equally … other than being ashamed of their peeing, of course.

  20. wow.
    when i think of them being published somewhere. that’s crazy and i can’t even imagine.

    anyway some made me laugh out loud…
    these ads just confirm every single prejudice men had against women at that time. crazy.

    thank god MANkind moved on from that(at least almost)! :)

  21. If I got a Hoover vacuum for Christmas, staring at it adoringly would NOT be my reaction…

  22. your comment that these ads aren’t from THAT long ago made me think of how when i started working in investment banking, women weren’t “allowed” to wear pants. In fact, my colleague was taken out for drinks by the college recruiter after she was hired (but before she started) to tell her just that since she wore a pants suit to her interview.

    Oh, this is was 1993.

    By 1997 we were all observing “Friday and summer casual.”

    By 2000, we were business casual everyday.

  23. Everyone says these aren’t current, but jeez, that Kenwood ad looks like it was made in the mid 90s. That really wasn’t that long ago.

  24. These created a great discussion, Joanna, so thanks for posting.

    I’m a Creative Director at an ad agency and I always find it interesting when this sort of thing comes up. I can tell you first-hand that, at least these days, agencies are not made up of misogynists trying to produce work that makes women feel bad about themselves. But neither are they replete with female creatives (who could bring a more realistic, well-rounded approach to the media).

    In fact, creative departments at ad agencies still look like they do on Mad Men. And only 3% of Creative Directors are women. For things to improve, more young women are going to have to take on this industry (which is fast-paced and fiercely competitive, but also crazy fun) and prove that ads can be brilliant without the dumb cliches.

  25. Anonymous says...

    this was a great post.

  26. as appalling as these are, current media is still just as messed up. still just as sexist, and probaby more misogynistic then before. with pornography being so rampant, sexism in our society is only getting worse. as a society, we’ve made huge strides on the one hand, but not without a downfall on the other.

  27. Oh dear. Thank goodness these ads aren’t current…can’t imagine how women made it through having these ads & this mindset as their living reality. We ladies can survive anything!

  28. Anonymous says...

    I do want to add, too… there are a LOT of women today who stay home. It’s actually a trend and a “status symbol” today. I know plenty of college-educated women who do not work and are “stay at home moms” or even “stay at home wives.” That’s not my cup of tea, but the thing is… more women than men stay home, and they’re choosing to do so. The ads which show women in the home are quite representative of real life, whether the women ONLY stays home or works too.

  29. Anonymous says...

    Thank you, Anonymous at 7:27! I (a woman) just came on to comment the exact same thing. Somehow it’s okay for ads today to show the bumbling, incompetent man… not just okay, but a popular trend (and it’s quite serious, not just tongue-in-cheek humor.) That IS equally offensive. And it’s done in TV shows and even in stupid primetime “news” pieces.

  30. Anonymous says...

    Some of these are pretty backwards but there is a lot of hipocracy here. How common is it now to see ads that show smug, condescending women shaking their heads of the stupidity of their husbands and illustrate men as morons. I find those just as offensive. We have come a long way since these ads, but it is ironic that with all the equality we have now, most of the educated, career women I know are miserable and burned out and just dream of marrying and becoming stay-at-home moms and giving up work like the housewives in the ads!

  31. Thank GOD times have changed! I would not put up with that BS!

  32. Wow! Those are pretty hilariously. Can’t believe they are real!

  33. So crazy. It’s easy to forget that this was normal relatively not that long ago!

  34. Good god. Equal parts ridiculously laughable and deeply (deeply) disturbing.

  35. Amy P says...

    These are pretty bad, but I agree with a few other posters who commented on how men are so belittled in current advertising. Not to mention women are still told they have to be beautiful in order to be valuable/liked…so we really haven’t gone anywhere but down. Advertising in general is pretty harmful.
    That said, there’s nothing wrong with gender roles. Not to the extent of putting people in a ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’ box and not letting them have a personality, but it’s not wrong to like to be feminine or domestic as a woman, for example.

    I sometimes think that women’s lib ended up backfiring. We now have to work outside AND inside the home in order to not be seen as lazy.

    I dropped out of college (while still single) because I realized what I really wanted to be was a stay-at-home mom. I don’t regret the extra education at all, but I’m glad I didn’t push myself into a career and have the extra juggling involved because really, I love the domestic life!

  36. omigod. i honestly can’t believe how awful some of those are! and i hate to say it, but most of the people i know (co-workers, customers, etc.) still think this way. it’s so frustrating!

  37. Holy Guacamole! These are rough. The Heinz “Most husbands nowadays, have stopped beating their wives” and the Drummond “Indoors, woman are useful — even pleasant. On a mountain they are something of a drag” caught my attention the most. Oh I’m so please that you find me pleasant and have stopped beating me!! What?!?

    When I was in High School my friend and I used to check out old magazines like Vogue from the Library. The advise in them was insane (and pretty hilarious at times)

  38. Wow! The audacity of these ads! What will we look back on 50 years from now and be shocked by?

  39. Oh my goodness!! :P

  40. I read the Heinz soup one a couple of times to make sure I got it right. I can’t believe what it says. That is crazy! And the sweater one about men being better than women! Gasp. I’ll tell ya, the last thing I would be is happy if I got a Hoover on Christmas morning….maybe a Dyson, but definitely not a Hoover! Haha. Thanks for posting. It’s been good for a laugh!

  41. Joanna: Have you seen the insane “It’s not for women” campaign for Dr. Pepper’s new product, Dr. Pepper Zero? It sure doesn’t seem like things are THAT different these days…


  42. Paloma says...

    I think men should have a revolt, the way that they are being portrayed in commercials like right NOW…I agree with Girl, and Anonymous that pointed this out. I am woman, not a feminist not an MRA, but a HUMANIST!

  43. Looks a lot like Goldie Hawn driving…

  44. Wow! What’s funny is I’m sure people still think these statements about women are true, it’s just more subtly implied.

  45. Anonymous says...

    omg stop with all this MAD MEN nonsense…just stop

  46. Reading Bluebird by Ariel Gore- and boy would she have a lot to say about this…infact she probably has!

  47. these are truly awful, but i disagree with the people who say “we’ve come so far.” now our sexism is simply more implicit than it was 40 years ago.

  48. These are awful. So grateful to live in the world we do.

  49. that is shocking how sexist some of them are. i guess that was the norm tho

  50. Wow! I sometimes can’t believe advertisements were like this! But these definitely remind me of an add for some soda that says at the end of the commercial, “Not for women.” Crazy!

  51. Anonymous says...

    The empty speech bubble in the Hoover ad was added later–it’s pixelated!!!

  52. Geez Louise. “If he does not go to the store immediately, cry a little. Not a lot. Just a little. He’ll go, he’ll go.” OHHHH so THAT’s how I get a Kitchenaid stand mixer. And to think, I was going to buy one for myself with my own hard earned cash. Silly girl.

  53. These are honestly depressing. So sad what women of that generation were being told through the media. Things still aren’t perfect, but we’ve come a long way.

  54. Style is great but words aren’t. Lucky we – who lives without the meaning of these words.

  55. Those are crazy!

    Also: Jo, does that model in the third ad (the computer one) kind of look like your mom, back in the day? It was my first thought!

  56. Wow… hilarious but scary!
    Definitely weird that these were the norm…

  57. Oh my…”Most husbands have stopped beating their wives.” Like it was a harmless habit they had to kick. “Mom’s on the warpath!” Unreal….

  58. ahhh -these are hilarious-but frightening too! hard times for the ladies!

  59. Kelly says...

    I actually think the Mini Automatic ad is pretty cute. As a chick who is totally capable of driving a manual in heels, I’m not offended. It’s cute.

  60. Holy cow, those are horrible! I can’t help but think of Mad Men when I look at those. What a male-driven society we used to be! If we saw ads like that today, the world just might explode.

  61. Girl says...

    Another thing to keep in mind aside from how far women have become..one thing kind of still remains..I’m talking about the men, they are in those ads too and they all look a certain way..short hair cut, suit, they too have a stereotype or gender role (Heterosexual Masculinity) that they must live up to, otherwise if they don’t they would be called gay. Back then I think in the early 1900’s WOMEN who wore pants were mocked at, yelled at, laughed at, and even beat up in rare situations.Now they can wear whatever :). Back in the 1900’s MEN who wore a dress or skirt were mocked at, yelled at, laughed at, or even beat up in rare situations. And Now they can wea- oh wait they can’t still!!!
    Why, because our society wants our men to be a certain way and any slight sensitivity or interest in the “Feminine” gender role would cause such an uproar..

  62. I am a new reader, but I look forward to reading your blog. I especially needed to laugh today. Thank you!

  63. Oh my! “men are better than woman! Indoors, woman are useful – even pleasant…” Totally shocking.

    I believe a law suit would be in order if an add like this appeared today. Thanks for posting these! xox

  64. These are so bad! Yikes! However, an interesting aside is the Hoover ad was done by a female illustrator by the name of Lucia Lerner. She’s a very interesting woman, a single mom back in the 50’s who worked in advertising when it was a majorly male-dominated field. She was one of the best illustrators of her time but is unfortunately overshadowed by her contemporaries. Her body of work always featured women and children, almost never a guy, which I think is interesting. She didn’t take crap from anybody! And I love her.

  65. WOW. Shocking as it is to us, it’s still like that in some countries, or even worse! I think all women should revolt, haha. Let’s turn the tables, ladies!!!

  66. I think it’s really interesting that now a days the butt of every commercial involves a dumb/oafish/incompetent husband/partner and the omniscient wife. What a reversal of trends! Although I have to admit that I find this new one rather obnoxious.

    It’s learning about things like this and watching shows like Mad Men that has helped me understand my mother in a way I never had before. She was brought up in the time when those advertisements were king and when a women was taught to never feel complete unless she was married and was beautiful.

    P.S. I love your blog!

  67. Ha! I just did a post on Mad Men era advertising. It’s amazing how far we have come…advertising has changes so much over the years, it’s nice to take a look back!

    <3 Kate

  68. Wowza! I’m currently watching Mad Men again and so it’s interesting to see all of these ads. I can’t believe some of them! We’re constantly evolving…

    Good finds!

  69. sometimes i think how fun it would have been to live back in the 50s. and then i see stuff like this and am SO glad i don’t!

  70. Oh! My! Gosh!!!! :D

  71. this reminds me of the PBS documentary America in Prime Time
    . I watched the one titled “The Independent Woman.” It’s interesting how the portrayal of women on tv not only follows but guides the path to equal rights and respect.

  72. If you ever have the chance, take a look at ads from the late 1800s/early 1900s (I studied a lot of these in college). Many of the cosmetics ads talk about “impressing the mother-in-law” or “reminding him of his’ mothers’ femininity.” Ca-razy stuff.

    I guess for women with momma’s boys, things haven’t changed that much :)

  73. Wow things have changed. I love the fashion from that era but I wouldn’t be crying to my husband to get him to buy me a blender ; )


  74. My grandmother IS these ads…she has spent her whole life living vicariously through her husband, her children, and now her grandchildren. Epic, epic bummer.

  75. Oh. My. Gosh.
    Jo. Are these for real?

  76. you’d be really surprised at how much sexism still exists in advertising today! it’s just a lot more subtle and subliminal. i studied this recently in a class and we watched a video on sexism in modern advertising, then in just flipping through magazines i was shocked at how many ads really are sending these messages!


  77. AP says...

    These are incredible. So good I had to repost! And I like anonymous’s comment about how men (and women) are portrayed in ads today in comparison.

    ps – I totally ordered the bensimon kicks. Perfect for stroller pushing out here in LA :)

  78. Obviously I wouldn’t want to be stuck in the home, but I feel like we haven’t come far enough, and feminism isn’t without its issues. In some ways, those days were simpler. These ads seem sexist to us now, but in reality wives were treasured, appreciated, etc. Nowadays a woman has to be everything – the career woman, supermom, all with a smile on her face. If she wants to just stay at home to raise the kids, she is considered lazy or useless.

    So really, these ads don’t horrify me or anything… it’s taking them completely out of context. Today’s world is better in some ways, but other ways it really is not.

  79. OMG there are no WORDS for the sweater ad!! Yowza!

  80. Pure awesomeness!
    I´ve got one ad at my desktop for some pills “to loose that ugly skinnyness”! Headline: “I gained 18 pounds!” – and you can do too!

  81. I didn’t mean to be anonymous- I’m typing one hand with sleeping baby!

  82. Thank goodness times have changed. I am so grateful I can now open a bottle of ketsup now. Thank you Henz! xoxox lowtidehightide.blogspot.com

  83. Anonymous says...

    I read an interesting tidbit somewhere that today’s ads portray men as idiots (or another child) around the house to make women feel empowered in their role inside the home, which is still where they’re being put in ads.

  84. Kinda funny now, but unfortunately deemed appropriate at the time.

  85. Anonymous says...

    I like the “You didn’t burn the beer” ad. The last one is strange and Freudian.
    I’m bothered by the current bashing ads that make dads/men look dumb. It’s considered okay to make fun of them kind of in retribution, but it sends a bad message to kids.

  86. This is almost laughable! Women have come a long way from these ads. It makes you happy you don’t live in that time.

    mon amy

  87. Betty Draper says...

    interesting juxtaposition of these ads with your admission that you are too “uptight” or “giggly” to pee in front of your husband. that’s harking back too, wouldn’t you say?

  88. holy crap, these are scary!

  89. Anonymous says...

    Some of them are worse than others. I’ll take the “didn’t burn the beer” quip to most beer ads today!

  90. Caitlyn says...

    Given the way that women’s human rights are being legislated away, it’s pretty clear that the sexism represented in these ads is still running rampant. At least none of these ads compare women to farm animals.

  91. Anonymous says...

    Wow! The irony of posting this after asking women if they dare to pee in front of their husbands is staggering!

  92. Susan S. says...

    I wish ppl didn’t think “hilarious” when they see these…those of us who were little kids when some of these came out are effing warped because of them. Or were around ppl who are/were. It’s so awful.

  93. as a history student i am aware of how women had been treated since ancient times in society..i have friends in women’s studies department..these are as disgusting as they come!

  94. Wow, these are hilarious. No wonder my grandmother waits on my grandfather 24/7, that is what she is supposed to do. Crazy to think this is how she lived and what was expected of her. Thanks for the laugh.


  95. Ooooooh my gosh! That’s so crazy, I cannot believe those things were ok. “You mean a WOMAN can open it?”

  96. That VW add kills me! “Women are soft and gentle but they hit things”
    I do hit things, but I’m not soft and gentle :)

  97. Yeah, if my fiance dragged me up a mountain to show me his new Drummond sweater, I’d be better than a man….at tossing him off the mountain.

  98. Lauren C.T. says...

    I was just looking at these the other day! A friend and I were having a good laugh at them while at work. I can’t get over the “most husbands, nowadays, have stopped beating their wives…”

    Actually, this website has some really intersting stuff on it. It’s worth a poke around.

  99. It’s just so good to know that indoors, I am useful, and possibly pleasant. But only indoors. So watch out.

  100. Wow. “Most husbands nowadays have stopped beating their wives”

    Haha. The audacity!

  101. Anonymous says...

    Ha! Those are pretty bad. We have come so far :)