Old sexist beauty ads that have no place in the world today

Old sexist beauty ads that have no place in the world today

Grow a pair

Text: Emily Heng

Image: Tollebild
Image: Telegraph

If there's any doubt if the beauty industry is making progress in combating sexism, racism and ageism, we'd say look no further than the prominent ads and campaigns of 2019. Gillette stole our hearts in their latest short film showing support for the #MeToo movement, Bobbi Brown hired African-Iranian actress and activist, Yara Shahidi, as ambassador for their #PrettyPowerful campaign, while Giorgio Armani has Cate Blanchett doing it all — from skydiving to supermarket shopping — in the Armani Sì; age (the actress is on the cusp of turning 50 this year) be damned.

And while this is good headway as any, it also serves as a great point for reflection. After all, those who don't know their past are doomed to repeat it. Below, the sexist beauty ads and campaigns from years past that made us eye-roll in earnest.

Besides perpetuating the stereotype that it is a woman's responsibility — and a woman's responsibility alone, mind — to keep a marriage alive, it also pits women against each other in an imaginary competition where the prize is — of course! — a man's affections. Thumbs down.

The fastest way to get tongues wagging is by being plain ol' offensive. Proactiv opted for this route in the early 2000s with an ad that preys on the insecurities of young women. The advertisement not only implies that one's self-worth is dependent entirely on one's appearance, it also suggests that it, too, is dependent on one's relationship status. Cue massive groan. 

Love Baby Soft Perfume
Troubling on all levels, this ad blatantly positions girls as sex objects, with the TV spots featuring a male narrator saying, "a cuddly, clean baby... that grew up very sexy." Consider us disturbed, disgusted and done with it.

Ivory Soap
Where do we begin? Not only does it play into the stereotype that women are boring, strict care-takers while men are the 'fun' ones, it also forces the line of thought that women have to put their families — and their needs — beyond their own. Also, who's going to tell them that women have a lot more things to get mad about then housework?

Underwood Nail Polish
What are we more annoyed by — the assumption that all secretaries are a) female or b) more concerned about keeping their hands and nails looking impeccable than their job? PS, the only thing that should be 'lovely to look at' is the quality of our work, which has expanded far beyond typing. Psh.

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