These Vintage Ads Illustrate Why the World Needs Feminism

This piece originally appeared on Kinda Kind.

In order to achieve progress, we must look to the past. While women still have a ways to go to achieve equal status to men, these ads illustrate that great progress has been made. Thanks to all the badass females who’s sacrifices resulted in these ads being completely absurd nowadays.

Lux Lingerie Deodorants, 1930

Well, this sucks.

Kellog’s Pep Cereal, 1938

Work harder. Look cuter.

Campbell’s Soup, 1940

Compared to the ads that follow, this one actually looks sort of cute.

Ivory Soap, 1942

Treatment for “nerves.”

Zonite Feminine Hygiene Solution, 1945

“Is a wife to blame if she doesn’t know these intimate physical facts?”

Ad Van Heusen Shirts, 1949

Because, beating your wife is a good look.

Heinz, 1950

“Most husbands, nowadays, have stopped beating their wives, but what can be more agonizing to a sensitive soul than a man’s boredom at meals.” Apparently soup is the problem solver.

Van Heusen, 1951

This ad has two absurdities: a woman kneeling before a man and the thought that any man looks good in bed wearing a tie.

Chase & Sanborn, 1952

Because coffee is reason for domestic abuse.

Schlitz, 1952

I bet she’s imagining shoving that cloth down his throat and scalding his head with the frying pan.

Alcoa, 1953

Careful guys, women might start getting the idea that they don’t need you for all sorts of things.

Pitney-Bowes, 1953

Yes, it is. But something tells me the rules were a little looser during this time.

Unilever, 1955

Thanks to unilever, women can finish their kitchen chores quicker, leaving more time to tend to their husbands. That husband and son probably need a sandwich or something.

Budweiser, 1956

The only thing worse than having a husband in the ’50s, is having two husbands in the ’50s.

Hoover, 1958

Christmas must have totally sucked.

Drummond, 1959

Women are a “drag” — except indoors, where we’re useful, and sometimes pleasant.

Bell & Howell Projector, 1959

Nice projection equipment, Sabrina.

Mornidine, 1959 (Prescription for morning sickness)

Because being pregnant isn’t enough.

Kenwood, 1961

“That’s what wives are for!”

Acme, 1963

Because if your coffee doesn’t please your husband, you’ve already failed before 9am.

Nesbit’s, 1964

I’d be nervous to find out what special ingredient makes this mustard so manly.

VW, 1964

The ad begins with, “Women are soft and gentle, but they hit things.”

Dormeyer, 1966

Wives are desperate for more home appliances and will even cry to get them.

Parker, 1966

Because girls can’t even hold a pen right.

Brown & Williamson, 1967

And can burn your house down.

Warner’s, 1967

The product for “Girls with too much bottom and too little top.”

Drummond, 1967

Well, here’s this…

Tiparello, 1967

If she accepts, she might start to play.

American Airlines, 1968

American Airlines wanted travelers to think of their attractive flight attendants as their mothers.

Procter & Gamble, 1968

“Woman of the future will make the Moon a cleaner place to live.”

Mohawk, 1968

Because the appearance of a company’s flight attendants is the most important factor when choosing an airline.

Whitehall Labs, 1969

“Making beds, getting meals, acting as family chauffeur — having to do the same dull, tiresome work day after day — is a mild form of torture.” And this torture was given the cute name of “Housewife Headache.”

Muriel, 1969

Do not blow anything in my face.

Demure Douche, 1969

“Deodorizes so thoroughly, so pleasantly, you know you’re the woman your husband wants you to be.”

Jell-O, 1969–1970

The person who created this ad forgot that behind a successful man is a great woman.

Datacomp, 1970

It’s important she is in this ad for a computer.

General Mills, 1970

“Keep up with the house while you keep down your weight.”

Dacron, 1970


Mini, 1971

Because not much has changed since VW’s 1964 ad.

Kenmore, 1971

“Designed for you, but built for your husband.”

Brown, 1973

“It’s a wifesaver!”

Weyenberg Shoes, 1974

Which is apparently on the floor, naked…

Love’s Baby Soft Dry Shampoo, 1975

More like — pedophelia is creepier than you think.

Photos from: Purple Clover, Smash, NY Daily News, Business Insider, Envisioning The American Dream, Advertising Archives

Human Development Project

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Ashley Lauren Dickinson

Written by

Founder of KindaKind — Digital Media Brand & Marketplace where “Kindness Is Badass.”

Human Development Project

A disruptive digital storytelling project supporting humanitarian initiatives, freeing shackled minds, and amplifying the voices of the oppressed.

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