This 1893 advertisement goes to show that housework has always taken forever. The ad, which is for Gold Dust washing powder, uses the phrase “fourteen-hour wives of eight-hour men” to describe their target audience. The “fourteen-hour” phrase implies it was common knowledge that women worked just as hard, if not harder, than their husbands.
As we all know, household chores are neverending. It seems that over a century later, not much has changed. Many of us could easily spend over fourteen hours cleaning our house and running errands, only to wake up and do it all over again. Weren’t modern conveniences supposed to help with that?
The Obviousness of 50s Advertising
Even though this old ad is sexist and slightly demeaning in an outdated way, it’s kind of funny because it shows how much marketing has changed over the last six decades. This telephone ad pretty much spells out their goal in four paragraphs of copy that reads like a middle school essay assignment.
Like, can they be any more obvious that they want housewives to buy their phones? They even go so far as to bring up spousal competition. The husband has a phone in his office, so why can’t she? It would be a good point if it weren’t for that horribly dated phrase, “the kitchen where you do so much of your work.”
Martini Advertisements Were Wild
This ad from the 1960s is wild– literally. This whole aesthetic is completely unhinged by today’s standards. The casual misogyny of having a woman in a cage was just, like, okay back in 1960s advertising. They made it all cutesy by dressing her in an animal print dress, but it’s still sexist no matter which way you look at it.
Imagine if a brand ran an ad campaign like this on social media. People would lose their minds, and not in a good way. It’s interesting to look back and see what was taken for granted and accepted as “funny” or “sexy” all those decades ago.
An Old and Grizzly Santa
The Santa Claus that we know today was popularized in the 1860s thanks to an initial illustration in “Harper’s Bazaar.” From there, Santa has changed to fit in with the times, but his signature red-and-white suit and facial hair have remained the same. Back in the 30s, it wasn’t uncommon to see Santa advertising products like Lucky Strike cigarettes.
No wonder Santa has such a gravely voice! All those Lucky Strikes no doubt dealt his vocal cords a blow. Interestingly, this ad argues that Santa’s cigarettes help throat irritation and are “easy” on the throat. We’re not so sure about that, Santa.
It Was Okay to Call a Woman a “Pet”
This old ad is an example of how things that used to be considered funny are unthinkable in our modern society. It reads, “If your wife can’t cook, don’t divorce her. Keep her for a pet and eat at our place.” Ew. We’re assuming this ad is for a restaurant of some sort. A restaurant we never want to eat at, specifically.
This ad played into generally accepted expectations from decades past. As wives, women were expected to cook, clean, pick up after their families, and do all the household shopping while looking happy and unflappable. Not being able to cook was seen as a flaw, and this ad played into that idea. Even though there are still a lot of issues surrounding women’s rights in our society, at least we’d never see a company refer to a woman as a “pet.”