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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Those were the days?

A dear friend sent me these advertisements from the 50's with a note that said, "You'll never see these ads again."

And my response to some of them was, "Thanks be to God!"

Like, this one:

It already brings a tear to the eye, doesn't it?

Or, for example, this one, which makes me just want to run out and buy vitamins:

Well, now I know why no one would ever accuse me of being "cute".  I just don't take enough "Pep" vitamins, is all.

If you want to know why some men never quite made it with the ladies (or why some women went running from the room), check out this ad:


Believe it or not, I was one of these girls:

Blame it on all that comfort food my mother made.

Funny, I don't remember Lane Bryant making clothes for children - just women. Then again, we always got our "half-sizes" for "chubbies" at Robert Hall. Well, for special occasions. Otherwise, they were all "hand-me-downs" from older cousins.

And, oh by the way, being a 'chubby' was not an insult in my family. It was, in fact, a source of pride. It meant that you had good parents who could afford to feed you well.

In my neighborhood, little kids were supposed to be a little 'chubby'.  You could worry about working off your 'baby fat' when you went to junior high and high school and became part of one of the "lady's" sports teams. Kids were supposed to look like kids, not mini-versions of Brittany or Taylor.

Now, here's an ad for a time when men were men and no one had to wonder about the status of their manliness (click on the image to enlarge if you want to read the small print):

How about THAT for 'family values?

Here's one extolling the virtues of television for your children (click on image to enlarge).

When the term "family values" was used, this is pretty much what it meant. Dad, Mom and the kids all gathered 'round the Motorola watching a 'wholesome' program.

If only Howdy Doodie were back on TV and men carried guns, all would be right with the world again!

Then again, maybe we're just not using the right toothpaste:


Or, perhaps nursing mothers are missing that " little something extra" for themselves and their babies.


And, to make it easier for dad to help and join in on the . . . "experience" . . .


Ah, see, we've not only realized our dream, we've surpassed it!

Except, in some places, maybe, not so much (click on image to enlarge):


Advertisements in print and visual media shape and reflect our culture in both subtle and powerful ways.

I still love the work of feminist Jean Kilbourne on the images of women in the media.

If you don't think this is important, just take a look at this clip from Kilbourne's work:

Killbourne says that "advertising sells products, of course, but it also sells values and images, it sells concepts of love and sexuality, or romance and success, and perhaps most important, of normalcy. To a great extent, advertising tells us who we are and who we should be.... What it tells us about what's most important about women is how we look."

It has ever been thus.

The next time you try to dismiss advertising as something you simply "tune out" and "don't pay any attention to," think again.

I wonder what our children and our grandchildren will think, looking back on this time of advertising.

Oh, I suppose they, like me, will chuckle about how absurd we look.

I hope that they, like me, will also raise a skeptical eyebrow and ask, "Those were the days?"

6 comments:

Fran said...

I don't have the time to say all that I'd like to...plus I really do feel a bit speechless.

And in agreement.

claire said...

This is a fun collection that says a lot.
As for today's adds, my most awful is the one I saw on TNT I believe promoting 'corn sugar', by cornsugar.com. These guys should be sued ...

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Fran - It's breathtaking, isn't it?

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Claire - Absolutely!

walter said...

Elizabeth:

Nothing less than genuine and freely chosen lives in the name of the One who keeps us centered and focused, Jesus The Christ.

Walter Vitale

Jim said...

I tell my granddaughter that she can be whatever she chooses and that what she does not what she wears is what matters. It makes me crazy to see adds on shows oriented towards 6 year olds pushing "Girls' toys" and "looks." My grandson at 4 knows there are boys' toys and girls' toys. We talk about how wrong that is.

I think I will go cry now.

FWIW
jimB