Thursday, June 16, 2011

Shockingly offensive ads

Here's a fascinating little article. You think advertisements are appalling today? Take a gander at some of these vintage ads and be glad those attitudes are (mostly) gone.


  1. If you have the stomach for it (because some of it is truly revolting), I recommend watching the documentary "Dream Worlds" by Sut Jhally. We had to watch it for a human sexuality class a while back, but it's on YouTube in several installments. It discusses the use (and I do mean "use," because they are treated like objects) of women in music video and advertising. It then discusses possible effects on our culture (for example, can implied gang rape in a rap video lead to actual gang rape in a city?).

    The title implies that music videos, pornography, movies, and advertising campaigns have created a "dream world" in which women enjoy being subject to men, enjoy being treated as objects, and are always "ready and willing." The danger in this comes when people confuse the "dream world" with reality, a world in which women deserve respect and kindness.

    It was a tough film to watch for a number of reasons, the biggest being that I felt so very dirty. I felt like I was watching absolute filth until I realized that the very videos used as examples in the film appear on MTV and BET every single day. The advertisements they referred to appear on billboards across the country. Then I about lost my mind thinking about how children have access to that kind of misogynistic obscenity. Without parents to show them the way, both boys and girls will think that that's how women should be treated or that that's how to "keep a man." And far too few parents actually understand the how perverse this stuff is, because they're not the ones watching it.

    So anyway, sorry for the long comment. I do agree that we've had a national change in attitude, but I don't know that the chauvinistic, "women exist to serve men" mindset is completely gone; I think it's now just presented in different ways.

  2. Um...did anyone else read the fine print on the Lysol ad? What what what?!

  3. I am surprised they did not show the classic of the husband throwing the hot coffee on the wife (if memory serves me) because she didn't use Chase and Sanborn brand.

    Note blogger is being wierd again about accepting blogger IDs in comments.

  4. Although I don't like the ads, I also don't like judging the past based on today's "morality." "Judge not, lest ye be judged."

    Our contemporary society will be judged someday, too, and it will be seen as just as ugly.

  5. omg Christin, the lysol ad!...Well I personally recommend just using a whole bottle of bleach with some Spic and Span followed by a shot of febreeze, just to be "sure". lol.

  6. LOL @ Anonymous. And throw some vinegar and baking soda up there while you're at it! :P

  7. Honestly, as offensive as some of those ads were, a couple of them weren't so bad compared to the rot in advertising today.


  8. My sister used these ads as "proof" that her militant feminist beliefs are right.

    My (conspiracy) theory is this: these ads were made in order to break down the number one building block of society - the family. These ads encourage a wrong outlook on the part of men. They pick up the subliminal message, take it home, and treat their wives like drudges or objects. The women rebel, and voila, you have the feminist movement.

    I believe that media shapes culture, contrary to people in media who say, "our programming, advertising, etc. follows what we see in society."

  9. @ Christin and Anon--don't forget the scrubbing bubbles.

  10. I've hesitated to comment on this thread because of the fear that I won't be able to adequately put into words my thoughts about these ads.

    I'll give it a whack ... and see how it goes. ;-)

    My initial reaction to these ads was, "How quaint." "How 50s." And, with some of them, "How funny."

    I cringed at some of them, especially the racist ones, out of embarrassment for black people. However, one must keep in mind that when those advertisements were created, those sentiments were part of the culture. I honestly don't believe they were meant to be offensive or insulting. They merely reflected the times. Thank goodness for the most part that the times have changed. Right?

    I'll tell you what I found extremely offensive, however. I clicked on the link to view the "20 most hilarious and clever ads." Now, some of THOSE I found to be highly offensive.

    I've been thinking about why I wasn't so offended by the first set of ads, but extremely offended by the second set.

    I believe the difference is in the intent ... the agenda. The second set had a sexual tone that, as we've seen since the "enlightened" 60s has been extremely damaging to our society and culture.

    Take the "First remote control" ad, for example. That is just pure pornography. There's no innocence there. There's no "just reflecting the times." It is just plain sexist degradation of women.

    I think the difference between the two types of ads is that in the first ones, women are being made fun of for the role that God intended them to play as wives and mothers. It's in poor taste to do that, but not much harm done.

    The second type of ad, the "remote control" one in particular, takes it to a different level and puts women in the position of taking bribes to be sexual playthings for men.

    I hope I'm stating it correctly so that you can see the difference that I see there.

    Put it this way. Are we better off or worse now that the times have moved from making fun of women for being a man's helpmeet and mother to his children to making fun of them and suggesting that they be a man's sex toy?

    Doesn't this reflect a paradigm shift in our culture that has given us the sexual revolution with its rampant venereal disease, out-of-wedlock pregnancies, abortions, fatherless homes ... and now ... such perversions as homosexuality, body piercings, etc.?

    Anyway, those are my thoughts ... not necessarily adequately presented.