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Tag Archives: Howell Bell

Sexist Ads Of The 50s

These days, keeping house isn’t just the function of the ‘little woman’. In these more enlightened times, men and women share the domestic duties, and the roles have become more equal. So when we look back at past eras such as the 50s and 60s – even up to the 80s – the attitudes seem frankly shocking now.

This is really obvious when looking at the world of advertising, which succinctly reflects the attitudes of days gone by. Here are four areas of advertising that will highlight the era perfectly.

The home – Like bangers and mash, gin and tonic and Abbot and Costello, there’s the wife in the kitchen. We know that times certainly have changed, and it’s not so common for the woman to be stuck at home, peering over her kitchen enamelware, cooking and cleaning for her man as much. Of course, there’s a double dose of sexism here. Hardee’s ad also implies that if you’re a man who doesn’t have a woman preparing food for you, you might as well go out for fast food because you can’t cook for yourself.

The office – The world of work was somewhere that was a male dominated environment in the 50s and 60s. Women were either secretaries or cleaners, and while there’s no shame in either role, the positions were perceived as subordinate and secondary to roles of men in business. So when Bell & Howell wanted to show off their “finest projection equipment”, it was Sabrina’s equipment that was used to sell it. I can guarantee that no one approached her on her opinion of how to use it.

Driving – Ah, the old staple joke of men being better drivers than women. No research in the world was going to stop husbands believing that his wife was a worse driver than him. As the breadwinner, Volkswagen were selling to him, not her. So if you’re going to buy a car, it really should be tough and able to handle a woman’s appalling driving skills. Oh, for the record, a researcher from Carnegie Mellon University in Michigan found that, based on miles driven, men were more 77% more likely to have a fatal car accident than women.

Air Travel – The world of air travel definitely wasn’t safe, as female cabin crew were one of the primary lures to get travelling business men to use particular airlines. I’m not sure what Czech Airlines is trying to get across here, but I can see nothing about the service or efficiency they provide, but their stewardesses are warm and welcoming in, and out, of uniform.

Citations:

TCH provides quality kitchen enamelware for the home.

 

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