Startup, Vintage Advertisements

Startup: Sexism Sells!

Kenwood Chef

"I'll whip you up a lovely strychnine casserole, darling!"

There was a time, not so long ago, when it was de regueur to joke about sexism and the patronizing and patriarchal idealism in Western society. While there was a certain tongue-in-cheek aspect about it — after all, virtually everyone realized that the idealistic scenarios presented in the media were certainly not true to life in most regards. After all, the whole “father knows best” mentality seldom applied to everyone, particularly since very few fathers actually worked at that mystical non-descript high-paying job that allowed him a new Buick in the driveway every two years.

Nevertheless, it was an advertising strategy that somehow worked. Few people saw it as offensive, and if anything the sexism caused most people to simply chuckle and shake their heads. It makes me wonder what ads we have running today will be looked back upon, thirty years from now, and make viewers’ jaws drop at the offensiveness of it all. My personal guess is that it will be either beer ads, or ads for full-size pickup trucks. But that remains to be seen.

Image source: dklimke

  • P161911

    The brat in the Toyota Highlander. Especially the one making fun of the Roadmaster.

    That or anything making fun of technology and old people. In another 30 or 40 years when most of the folks on here are the old people, I hope that we will still be somewhat tech savvy.

    • Deartháir


      Seriously, I haven't seen the ads, and I refuse to give Toyota free eyeball rentals by pulling it up on the Tubes of Yew. But I've heard they've spoken disparagingly against the RoadBastard, and they're dead to me now. YOU HEAR ME!? DEAD!

  • As a marketing major, I saw my fair share of advets from every era.

    By far, my favorites were the pre-PC era, when wimmins were in the kitchin' makin' me dinnah! Its my favorite because my wife makes much more than me, and I make dinner.

  • It is interesting to look back at what was acceptable in society to previous generations. Every so often I think about what we have now that will be looked on with horror by the new PC crowd of 20-30 years from now. Will it be internal combustion engines? The "dumb father" theme of most TV shows? Hooters? The puritanical nature of the FCC?

  • mr. mzs zsm msz esq

    Not just the ads were sexist and better back then, but the products were better as well:
    <img src="; width="500">
    "So Easy – Even Your Wife Can Use It"

    We also did not have all the warnings (like in drug ads) back then, just common sense:

    Yes I want one.

    • MrHowser

      "Clears stairs, except wood."

      I chortled for sure.

    • "In Summer: Weeds Edges Trims"

      Shit. That is awesome.

      • zsm

        Like I said, I really want one these or something like it.

        • MrHowser

          They take most major credit cards.

          • zsm

            Thank you, that one has bad reviews, but there are more. Now I know what to look for. Actually one of the reviews is genius:

            Doesn't do the job, but charming., March 16, 2010
            By Ed Palumbo (Yardley, PA)

            When this propane weed burning torch finally arrived (took over 9 months) it was too cold to go outside to use, so I left it in the shed for a month or two – something may have fallen on it, so keep that in mind.

            When it was warm enough to use I set out. After trying every nozzle the last one fit, the smallest, and I got to work aiming the torch at the weeds. I have terrible weeds at the base of my yard that choked out all of my excellent flowers. It didn't do much except make this strange noise and bend funny (probably from the shed accident). It was warm, but certainly not 3000 degrees. This thing is heavier than you'd expect and if you hold it upside down all this fuel or something comes out.

            It's probably my fault for buying this weed torch because it was a Batman branded one but since The Dark Knight, they've been putting Batman branding on everything. I still respect DC comics as a company despite the shoddy workmanship on this product they've licensed their brand to.

            Looks cool hanging in the shed though, which I now call the Batcave.

            I forgot to add, the flow control doesn't work.

            Oh, and don't shake it.

          • MrHowser

            That's pretty funny. On a side note, in the world of online reviews, there's not much worse than someone who rates a product poorly because it doesn't fit their oddball need, or something about the purchase process (not the product itself) was unsatisfactory.

            "I ordered this widget and it took FedEx two months to get it to me, and once it arrived it was broken," is not a failing on the part of We Make Widgets, Inc.

        • Here is my dad using a propane one to start a campfire….
          [youtube o944P6gXQA0 youtube]

          • zsm

            I'm sold and asking for one for father's day!

          • P161911

            I consider a standard propane torch a necessary item of camping gear.

  • tonyola

    National Airline ad from the 1970s – hot stewardesses for everyone, even in Coach?
    <img src=""&gt;

    • FuzzyPlushroom

      Ahh yes, from back when "cockpit" was also an acceptable term for a stewardess…? Right on.

  • Let's remember that for many years, "housekeeping" was a legitimate vocation — an area of expertise. There would have been nothing insulting or embarrassing (and certainly nothing "tongue-in-cheek") about espousing the concept that the man's responsibility was earning the money and the woman's responsibility was to manage the home: keeping the house attractive and in good repair, raising the children, arranging the social calendar; these were laborious and necessary duties. Not every man who subscribed to these strict gender roles disrespected his wife's intelligence or gumption, and not every stay-at-home mom who read Good Housekeeping and Better Homes & Gardens was a resentful, repressed, arm-candy/love-slave trophy.

  • SSurfer321

    My wife makes a bit more than me AND makes me dinner when it's too cold/inclement to grill. And she used to be a model.
    I just hope she never realizes how far down she married 🙂

    • If we didn't need my income, I would be sooo willing to be my wife's stay-at-home man-bitch.

      …as long as it was understood that I might look for opportunities to sneak out into the garage for a couple hours on a regular basis while my wife is at work.

      • Before we got married, I told Mrs. engineerd she had 5 years to make partner so I could retire. I will work part time at Starbucks. Hell, as much as I drink their deliciously addicting coffees, the free coffee perk of a barista will soften the blow of not having my income. The rest of my time will be spent working on Project House Hell, Project Car Hell, playing GT5 and napping.

        She has 2 more years.