The 1950s Housewife Challenge: Day 9

I’m starting to get suspicious. The weekly chores are significantly easier this week than they were last week. Logically, I know it’s likely because I did all the hardcore cleaning last week and now it’s more maintenance cleaning than a deep clean, but still…it makes me feel like I’m forgetting something major.

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Little Critter gets it.

Since my entire day hasn’t been consumed with scrubbing my bathroom floors, I decided to check out some more vintage ads. Five minutes into my Google search, I regretted my decision.

Please Don’t Put Disinfectant Up Your Hello Kitty.

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These are only two ads of dozens I found that very aggressively push the use of Lysol as a douche. The implication is that if you don’t use it, your husband will hate you and leave you for a woman who is willing to upset the PH balance of a self-regulating body part by putting Lysol where it has no business being.

But don’t worry, the fear mongering doesn’t stop there!

The Wrong Toothpaste Will Drive Him Away!

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Temptresses who use toothpaste are hiding around every corner, just waiting to pounce on your man! They’ve never had morning breath, sweated, pooped, or raised their voices–ever. You on the other hand…well, just be thankful someone married you in the first place.

If You Really Loved Him, You’d Stay Young Forever.

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According to the advertising world (past and present), the worst thing a woman can do is dare to age with each passing year. If you believed the ads, you’d think we lived in a live-action Logan’s Run and with certain beauty products, you can save yourself from the Carrousel.

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“You can’t catch me, Father Time!”

You Know, the Sex Robots in The Stepford Wives Were Never Grumpy Like This.

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“Yes, Mother, stop being such a cranky bitch just because we’re ungrateful and think women only exist to be pretty maids.”

With advertising, it’s easy to just dismiss it as something unimportant. It’s an ad–who cares? But it’s worth nothing that ads want to appeal to what they perceive as the largest and most profitable demographic, so if these ads were so common, it’s because there was a market for them. Women were taught that their value primarily came from serving men, so catching and keeping a husband were of the utmost importance and that was reflected in the ads. However, I think there’s hope because companies are picking up on the way times are changing and that is reflected in the way they want to advertise to us. For example, check out this vintage deodorant ad:

And compare that to Secret’s campaigns over the last few years, including encouraging women to close the wage gap, supporting women entering male-dominated sports, and being trans-inclusive:

Does some advertising come off as virtue signaling in an attempt to win our business? Yes, of course. Every June we see a huge influx of rainbow flags used in advertising and it can feel like a cheap ploy, especially from companies that are otherwise detrimental to the LGBTQ+ community, which is why it’s important to do your research before you spend your money. One study showed that “nine of the biggest, most LGBTQ-supportive corporations in America gave about $1 million or more each to anti-gay politicians in the last election cycle:

1. AT&T donated $2,755,000 to 193 anti-gay politicians.

2. UPS donated $2,366,122 to 159 anti-gay politicians.

3. Comcast donated $2,116,500 to 154 anti-gay politicians.

4. Home Depot donated $1,825,500 to 111 anti-gay politicians.

5. General Electric donated $1,380,500 to 97 anti-gay politicians.

6. FedEx donated $1,261,500 to 75 anti-gay politicians.

7. UBS donated $1,094,750 to 72 anti-gay politicians.

8. Verizon donated $1,022,803 to 74 anti-gay politicians.

9. Pfizer donated $959,263 to 52 anti-gay politicians.”

That being said, these companies see it as an essential marketing tool because it is worth their time and money to advertise to the LGBTQ+ community, which is a huge change from even just a few years ago. Shitty, sexist marketing is not where the money is anymore and when companies produce tone deaf ad campaigns, they see an immediate response and will get publicly dragged on social media.

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Remember when Kendall Jenner “fixed” systemic racism police brutality with a Pepsi in 2017?

In Conclusion & Recommended Reading

If you’re interested in reading more about the history of companies advertising to women, I highly recommend Lynn Peril’s Pink Think: Becoming a Woman in Many Uneasy Lessons. It’ll make you laugh, cringe, and understand why Bic thought “Bic for Her” pens were a good idea.

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The book also goes into how American teen girls were indoctrinated into the idea of their greatest purpose as that of a housewife, often through publications created by companies like Procter & Gamble. These companies assisted in the training girls to be good, subservient wives and in exchange, they made money off of them. It’s both fascinating and depressing, kind of like how Gillette convinced women hairy underarms were appalling just so they could sell more razors.

In the meantime, I guess I’ll go finish folding laundry before filling out this vintage ad and crying to Jon until I get what I want.

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I hope whoever thought of this ad stepped in something wet while wearing socks every single day of their life.

Day 10: “SMILE THROUGH THE PAIN!”


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One Comment on “The 1950s Housewife Challenge: Day 9

  1. Pingback: The 1950s Housewife Challenge: Day 8 – Emily Regan

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