Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Christmas thoughts of a man ....

After last week’s news that the advertising watchdog is to crack down on sexist stereotypes here’s two examples of how it used to be done in the days when not an eyebrow was raised. There’s a seasonal flavour here as well as a strange symmetry in that both adverts feature three generations of females whose existence is entirely subordinate to the unchallenged patriarch. What could be more generous than the purchase of a labour-saving device to ease the burden of toil on the housekeeper? Sentimental, heartfelt tribute is paid to each individual – wife, mother and daughter – who gaze back at us from their respectful and dignified portraits. Each will be blessed with a new vacuum cleaner plus a little more free time to devote to the welfare of the bountiful head of household. Win, win. In the service of Max Factor, we have a trio of submissive females, lips puckered, awaiting the approval and osculatory advances of the unseen father figure, his customary odour of alcohol and tobacco wondrously masked by a generous application of Deodorant Cologne by Max Factor. Any woman knows what to expect when she gives him the best. In the interests of creating consumer demand, invoking sexist stereotypes was an easy fix in a time when gender hierarchies were carved in unassailable granite. Two generations of change may have passed since then but it’s not difficult to find tribunes of the people, desperate to preserve what remains of these hierarchies and find a way back to the ancient certainties.


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