I came across an ad a few days ago in a book I was reading, and I suddenly remembered that I’d meant to post something about this meme that was doing the rounds a few months ago:

Top 48 ads that would never be allowed today

Other times, other adverts

Retro Goodness: Vintage Sexy Adverts

In fact the meme, if you can call it that, has been doing the rounds for a number of years. Look, even the Daily Mail got in on it, way back in November 2007 – The outrageously politically incorrect adverts from the time equality forgot.

Now I would argue that while some of these ads are quite shocking, they’re actually pretty tame in comparison to a lot of the stuff that gets past the advertising authorities today. Yes, they’re sexist, but more in a boring, tired, Benny Hill/Carry On/Saucy Seaside Postcard/Richard Keys/Andy Gray kind of way than anything else. A lot of what we get nowadays on the other hand, is more like overt misogyny posing as art.

Remember Wrangler’s We Are Animals ad campaign from a couple of years ago for example?

Or the Duncan Quinn suit campaign?

And how about the recent “Shameless” campaign from Suit Supply?

To be honest I didn’t really understand the ‘ZOMG how did they ever get away with it!‘ reaction a lot of people had to those vintage sexist ads. Not when we get stuff like this:

And this:

And this:


But anyway, back to the ad that prompted this post in the first place:

It’s a subscription ad for Hustler magazine from 1977. The text reads:

Now you, too, can enter the exciting world of gynecology [sic]. And you don’t have to put up with eight years of medical school and skyrocketing tuition rates.
For just $22 you can subscribe to HUSTLER and learn everything about female anatomy. HUSTLER exposes unexplored territories and shows you parts of a woman’s body you thought were visible only during a hysterectomy operation.
When you subscribe to HUSTLER you’ll save $5.75 off the newstand price, and receive your copies two weeks in advance. Plus, each copy of HUSTLER is sealed in a black plastic wrapper, so no one can see it before you do.
Have HUSTLER delivered to your door. It’s the only magazine that entertains you and teaches a course in gynecology at the same time.

I wish I could say “ZOMG how did they ever get away with it!” to this one, but I can’t, ‘cos they’re still getting away with misogynist shite like this today.

As for The Heresiarch’s comment on the vintage ads: “What I can’t see is any evidence that social progress was derailed as a result of advertising messages of this type. On the contrary, they look absurd today precisely because they had little or no role in shaping society. And it is modern manners, not the bureaucratic preciousness of an Advertising Standards Authority, that would prevent any company attempting to run similar campaigns today.

I’d ask what social progress he’s talking about? True, maybe we don’t see so many ads nowadays that make light of domestic violence and so on like some of the vintage ads did, but what we get instead are women’s corpses being used to sell:

Water and Oil‘ – Vogue Italia

Progress my arse.