Escape Monday: With Sexist Ads from the 1930s

offending_chinreducerIt’s crazy how advertising has evolved over the past 100-odd years. The messages are all essentially the same, but the way they are communicated have become increasingly complex and manipulative.

Back in the day, things were a little more straightforward. Advertisers had pretty much no shame when it came to targeting women to buy their products as you’ll see in the ads that follow.

The scary thing is that most advertising still plays largely on people’s fears and insecurities, but instead of saying “You are fat / skinny / have bad skin / smell – buy our product” it’s now changed to “She is gorgeous, confident, sexy and perfect because she bought our product.”

Advertisers have realised that you don’t have to point out people’s flaws to get them to buy whatever snake oil you’re selling. Instead, bombard them with images of flawless people and they’ll connect the dots all by themselves.

I’ve sorted all the ads originally featured here (worth reading if you want more insight into and analysis of these ads) into easy-to-read categories.

Category No. 1 – You stink








Yeah, pretty brutal right? Just wait, it gets better. If it wasn’t bad enough that you stink, wait until you get a load of category 2.

Category no. 2 – Your Lady Parts Stink






Men back in the day were real uncommunicative shitheads apparently. Some would say not much has changed…

Moving right along, category 3 is another winner that is still dogging women (and men) at every turn.

Category no. 3 – You are too fat / too skinny






Interestingly, though skinny women are currently considered beautiful, the opposite was true when the world went through the Great Depression and the tough economic climate saw countless millions of people wasting away from starvation all over the world.

The next category is also one that exists to this day.

Category no. 4 – Your Hands Are Rough as a Goat’s Knee





The first one is the best (worst?) – “Romance DIES at the touch of DISHPAN HANDS!” Reminds me of the “Reefer Madness” movie posters that also did the rounds on the 30s.

Moving right along, here’s ma favourite category of the whole lot.

Category no.5 – Hey guys! Let’s invent a retarded-sounding new term to scare women into buying our shitty products!






Yeah. That last one makes no sense whatsoever. The fuck is she putting gelatine in the salad for? What in the name of all that is holy is she making?!

There are a ton more here, but I thought I’d end with a personal favourite from the early 70s:



What the actual fuck. Who are they hiring, sex-slaves? The copy in that ad is so embarrassingly chauvinistic, it makes me ashamed to be a man.

Anyway, I hope you guys enjoyed that trip down to hell memory lane. I’d like to say we’ve come a long way, but have we?




No we haven’t.


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