While working on my Victorian Visual Culture paper on advertising, I’ve come across a lot of very interesting and sometimes bizarre advertisements that have existed over time. Usually, I love to look at old advertisements, because as Lori Anne Loeb says in “Consuming Angels”, advertisements can be really great cultural commentary of a specific time in history. Older print ads, from the 1920’s and 1950’s, can be fascinating. It’s funny to see the novelty and excitement an advertisement expresses when promoting a product we are so used to using in our everyday lives (a washing machine! Ponds cold cream! Well, I don’t use Ponds, but it just seems so old-fashioned, it’s hard to think that there ever existed a time where Ponds was new and exciting). Anyway, in my research I also came across some extremely disturbing ads. I was looking at an article on businesspundit.com entitled “10 Most Sexist Print Ads from the 1950s” and found this:
The article supplied a quote underneath that said: “There’s a lot to be said for domestic violence. Sure, it ruins lives and tears families apart, but at least you can be certain your coffee is fresh! The mere suggestion today of an ad such as this would be enough to have you sacked from most major ad agencies. What were they thinking? The more you look at this ad, the sadder it gets”.
It’s true, this is an awful ad. But I can’t help but think about some of the advertisements we have access to today. While few to none are as blatantly violent as this one, it’s clear to me that the degradation of women in our advertisements today is still painfully prevalent.
This is still pretty provocative if you ask me: