Vintage Ads that Would be Banned Today

1. The Harder A Wife Works, The Cuter She Looks!

The Harder A Wife Works, The Cuter She Looks!

Does this ad offend you?


The first of a series of vintage ads from the 40s and 50s that would not be accepted in today’s world!


Life is very different now. Things that we’re considered ‘normal’ when I was growing up in the 60s and 70s, we’re not acceptable in the 40s and 50s. And vice versa. The same goes for today.

Morals, values, ethics, sub-cultures are incredibly complex issues today and to be really honest – downright confusing.  As a mother of a reasonably shy and sensible 14 year old, negotiating the mores of the day, her friends and their families, the school and teachers, combined with kids with attitude +++ is a minefield of faux pas. One false move, one wrong move and BOOM. Friendships are lost.

Last year, in the process of organising my 13 year old’s birthday celebrations, I asked her if she would like to forego the usual bowling, skating type events and do something different. Together, we devised a sort of Amazing Race/Treasure Hunt where her friends would participate in working out clues and complete certain tasks. There would be laughs, there would be prizes, there would be pizza in the park. What more could a teen want?

And then the trouble began….

I had limited the number of attendees to 8, including my daughter. She went to school on the Monday morning brimming with ideas to ask if the date would suit her chosen 7. What followed was, a scenario that I could only describe as ludicrous. One girl wouldn’t come if another was invited, the boys didn’t want so many girls, another wanted it to be even, as in only couples could attend. There we’re stand up fights in the school yard and my daughter returned from school a teary mess. She didn’t know what to do!

Next day, another heavy lunchtime discussion ensued and more demands we’re made on my daughter as to the makeup of the party. Boyfriends that my girl wasn’t even friendly with we’re included by two of her closest friends and it was decided that one slightly overweight ‘harry high pants’ would be excluded. Furthermore, the best friend of ‘the birthday girl’ was also in doubt as this arrogant little group of sabotagers, decided that she would ‘hog’ my girl and they WOULD NOT WANT THAT TO HAPPEN.

As they say ‘these days’, “What the ….?”

I put my foot down. Invitations we’re sent out and I was very clear to all the guests that it was Milly’s party and that she had invited whomever she had wanted and they could like it or lump it. Little did I know that my sensitive daughter did not invite her friend known as ‘harry high pants’ as she said it just wouldn’t work.

Needless to say, it was an unmitigated disaster. No one co-operated. The two villains disappeared and kept us waiting, in an adult passive aggressive manner, way beyond their years and in the end, I gave up and they went off by themselves to sit on the stage at the park.

It was so shocking and disappointing to see my daughter, shoulders slumped, waiting for the party to end and apologising to me for her friend’s behaviours. Since then this group has completely broken up, leaving her with only the best friend and ‘harry high pants’. Welcome to the teenage years!

Is it just me (still wearing the rose-coloured glasses of youth) OR was it really easier back when I was a kid?

Yeah, we had the popular girls, the ‘harry high pants’, the bullies, the well off and the poor kids, but as I remember it, there was a modicum of acceptance of all the different types at school : rich and poor, smart and average, kind and nasty. We accepted and tolerated each other, learnt how to communicate with each one and in some way felt like a family, warts and all.

Can it just be technology that has changed things? No one had an iPhone 5s, so there was no reason to despise anyone for having or NOT having one. Or is it the pressure to have both parents working, that results in an absence of learning about things like tolerance. Who needs tolerance when you can simply log out and forget those who are annoying you. Of course, it’s a combination of many factors and there is no going back.

So did the ad above offend you? Why?

One thing that people from the younger generations continually ask is “Why don’t you use your partners name?” The Baby Boomer generation is not homogenous, but it is a fact that most Jones Generation women I know automatically kept their maiden names when they married and it seems to incense Gen X ,Y, Z, W and the rest. So why did we do it?

  • We are individuals!
  • We fought for and enjoyed what we thought at the time were equal rights and we were going to assert them!
  • We worked under our maiden names and established professional credentials in those names, so why change them!
  • There are a myriad of other, more personal reasons.

Why does it offend those younger than me so much? I guess it is in the same vein as this ad from the 40s/50s offends me. I cannot believe that women thought that way (of course men did and some things never change). But the offence taken by me is not personal. Whereas the Gen X women practically tell me that it’s stupid to keep your maiden name and judge me. Even reject me. And still I accept and tolerate their behaviour. That’s because I’m a Baby Boomer and proud of how I was raised.

It’s a pity that endeavouring to raise my daughter in the same manner, has not liberated her, but set her apart from her peers and caused not a little trauma. Is it possible to turn back the clock? Maybe not, but in some small way, together we’ll breach the divide and stand up for those values of empathy, acceptance and tolerance and make our patch of the world a better place.

Comment if you have an opinion. Thanks for listening.






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