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Sexist Vintage Ads

History textbooks often skip what life was like for the everyday, average person in the past. One way to really step inside of history it to take a look at vintage advertisements. And because we all need a little humor in our life, I present…drumroll…Throwback Thursdays. Enjoy.

I picked this ad because it’s not only sexist, it’s also poorly written from an advertising perspective. The tagline: “Keep her where she belongs…” leaves you a bit lost.

Does she belong on the floor staring at your un-occupied shoes?
Naked on the floor?
At your feet? (But not while you’re in the shoes?)

The image is widespread and has been featured in multiple newspapers (online and print) in the last couple of decades as an example of “sexist ads of days past.” If anyone from Weyenberg Massagic shoes minds me posting this, please contact me. (My position as a woman at the feet of men mean I will immediately comply with any and all orders).

Sexist Vintage Ad: Keep her where she belongs. Apparently, at a man's feet.

Mr. Leggs Slacks

It’s sad…but Mr. Leggs Slacks has their own section.
Please visit the original post for all of the sources and details about where I found them.

The text of the ad is as bad as the picture: “Though she was a tiger lady, our hero didn’t have to fire a shot to floor her. After one look at his Mr. Leggs slacks, she was ready to have him walk all over her. That noble styling sure soothes the savage heart! If you’d like your own doll-to-doll carpeting, hunt up a pair of these he-man Mr. Leggs slacks. Such as our new automatic wash wear blend of 65% “Dacron®” and 35% rayon–incomparably wrinkle-resistant. About $12.95 at plush-carpeted stores.”

Ad text reads: A display of affection is great…but enough is enough. She couldn’t keep her hands off him. Always the little hugs, the pats on the cheek. Sly pinches. It could drive a man to the license bureau. It all began when he wore his first pair of Mr. Leggs Slacks, tailored by Thomson. But he kept his head; now everything’s under control. Why don’t you try a pair of Mr. Leggs…and get ready to dig. Pure wool worsted flannel, $14.95 at better stores.

The text is fabulous! It is not only sexist, we have colonialism superiority (at least according to the SJW of today). It is definitely not p.c. “It can get you in a stew. A fellow wearing Thomson-tailored Mr. Leggs slacks must proceed with caution. The natives get restless if he attracts too many female head-hunters with his irresistible appeal. Set off jungle drums, but discreetly, in a pair of Mr. Leggs…like those in world famous Raeford’s tropic weight blend of 55%….”

This one is actually from Playboy. I had a laugh when I saw that. It is for sale on E-bay (at time of me posting).

Sexist-wise, this one isn’t too bad. Yes, skinny blond sequined and kneeling, but at least the ad didn’t right out say…I’ll stop there.

Corsets telling women that they need to be thin to catch a man. Cookware showing that your role in life is cooking. Wait a minute, that’s today. Not vintage. And I love cooking! Oh, yeah, it’s the assumption I can’t do anything BUT cook that’s “offensive.”  Anyway, my choices seemed endless this week.  In fact, I had to choose between the many sexist ads for “Palmolive” soap. I may have to feature them more in the future, haha.

My question for you, dear readers: do you agree with the ad? Is it honest? Do most men ask “is she pretty?”, not “is she clever?”

This is great! An exciting advertisement about getting a glamorous job. Independent women have arrived. The 1950’s are past: women (well, single women) can get jobs. Yay!
But wait, the advertisement makes it clear this is really just a great way to meet a husband! After all, “Every Girl should be married.” I’m assuming the sad, almost crying blonde in the bottom corner is at home unhappy because she doesn’t have a husband yet?
Please check out “Sally Edelstein Collage” for a bunch more media images. She’s explained them, and amassed a great collection.
Sexist Vintage Ad: Husband spanking wife for not store-testing coffee. Courtesy of Chase & Sanborn.

I find this one just plain weird. Honestly. The wife isn’t doing her “job” right and he spanks her. Like she’s a 3-year old. In this case, the “job” she isn’t doing right isn’t store-testing for fresher coffee. I have to be honest: I have no idea what store-testing is. Anyway, Chase & Sanborn Coffee used the below advertisements in an attempt to boost sales. I wonder if it worked?

Do any of you, my dear readers, have any idea what “store testing” is? Or have any great sexist vintage ads you would like to share?

We knew that the attitude between the sexes was different in the past. The ad below didn’t hold anything back…it might win the award for most sexist I’ve seen so far. I’ll just let you read it. My commentary cannot make it any worse than it already it.

I got it from Daily Mail UK (they’ve been around for over a century…but do post the more sensational stuff. I would rate this article as trustworthy, though). Cited (in a different source) as being from: Ad from Esquire, The Magazine for Men, December 1959.

Sexist Vintage Ad_Pyrex. What makes a successful marriage?

The text of this ad is really what “makes it.” If it’s hard to read: “Now the new mistress of the house can go right ahead with some of those girlhood dreams- planning lovely meals for her man…”

Sadly, these girls probably had been trained to dream about nothing more than making meals. While I love cooking, and am glad it is a loving thing I can do for my husband…I have a life outside the kitchen. (Gasp!)

Sexist Vintage Ad: Pitney-Bowes 1947 Postage Meter- Is it always illegal to kill a woman?

The most reputable source for this ad is “Envisioning the American Dreams,” which is affiliated with Sally Edelstein. I have never found a picture on her site that I haven’t been able to validate.


(Source of text: “Bytes Daily“…thanks because I could have squinted and read the text, but this was easier.)

The text reads:

Is it always illegal to kill a woman?
For six months I bend the ears of the home office to get a postage meter. I win . . . Then the only good, fast, dependable, honest-to-Gregg stenographer I got, this redhead Morissey, balks at a postage meter!
“I have no mechanical aptitude. Machines mix me up, kind of’” she says. As if we asked her to fly a P-80.  I almost blow my top.
This postage meter, I explain, is modern, more efficient, a time saver . . . No more adhesive stamps. No stamp box, and who’s got the key? No running out of stamps you need. No scrounging. No stamp sticking. Just set the lever for any kind of stamp you want, for any kind of mail, and the meter prints the stamp right on the envelope with a dated postmark – and it seals the flap at the same time. Faster than mailing by hand. Prints stamps on tape for parcel post. Even keeps its own records!
And metered mail doesn’t have to be postmarked and cancelled in the post office, gets going earlier. It is practically heaven’s gift to the working girl . . . and so on. But with the Morissey, no soap.
I try diplomacy, “Miss Morissey, I want you person’lly to try it for two weeks. If you don’t like it then – back it goes to the factory! I depend on your judgment implicitly. Okay?” . . . She acts like an early Christian about to be lunch for a lion, but gives in.
So help me – two weeks later she has a big pink bow on the handle of the postage meter – like it was an orchid or something. I give it the gape.
“Kinda cute, ain’t it,” says Miss Morissey. “But a very efficient machine, Mr Jones. Now the mail is out early enough so I get to the girls’ room in time to hear all the dirt” . . . I wonder is it always illegal to kill a woman!

The picture is a little grainy, so I’ll translate a bit:
Is there a man in your life?
If there is, you want him to keep right on thinking you’re pretty wonderful.

It goes on to say how you’ll appear “daisy-fresh” since you didn’t have to slave over a stove. So he gets a hot meal AND you looking wonderful. Yay! How could anyone want more?

Image from:

I miss the days when women were slaves kneeling at the feet of their husbands. But back in the day, luckily we had Van Heusen ties to let us know that it’s a man’s world. [tone: dripping in sarcasm]

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