Lady Science no. 15: Gender in the Mid-Century Kitchen Analysis

This post by Anna Reser and Leila McNeill talks about the sexism shown in many advertisements of the past. “These advertisements would have us believe in a world where women find deep, personal fulfillment in cleaning toilets, men can make casual threats of domestic violence, and women of color don’t exist (seriously, this is the whitest America)” (McNeil). McNeil explains how deceptive these advertisements are when talking about how women think and feel. If someone who does not know women well took these articles at face value, said person would think women love and thoroughly enjoy cooking and cleaning.
The article goes on to show some examples of advertisements from the 40s, 50s, and 60s that display sexism. These obvious displays of sexism did not surprise me at all because the sexist attitude of our society in the mid 1900s is well documented. What did surprise me is the way the ads directed at men were set up. The advertisements directed toward men basically showed a cooking or cleaning product, and explained how happy their wife or girlfriend would be as a result of her new “toy.” For example, one ad showed a man holding a toaster next to his ecstatic wife or girlfriend with the caption “Ways to please a lady.” This ad depicts a situation where a man’s significant other would love him so much more just because he bought her a toaster. To me, this situation is laughable if not downright ridiculous. If my dad got my mother a new toaster, I highly doubt this would “please her.” Maybe surprised was not the right word. I might be taken a back by the ads directed towards men because I have never really seen these types of ads. I guess cooking and cleaning advertisements today are marketed as gender neutral or at least a lot more gender neutral.

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