Advertising's Attitude of Servitude

Slavery was so ingrained into American culture that even after it was abolished by the Thirteenth Amendment in 1865, black people were depicted almost exclusively as servants in advertisements. They were characterized as uneducated, poorly speaking stereotypes who cleaned and cooked for rich white families; particularly prevalent is the presence of black female maids. Most important to note is how happy people appear in these advertisements, promoting the idea that black people were content in servitude, undermining the struggle for equality in America.

Rice Krispies, 1932

Sanka Coffee, 1933

Monel, 1939

Tracy Sinks, 1942

Hoover, 1934
"Mah Lady Gives Me Sundays Off!"

"Yeah? -Well I Gets Part of every day off- mah folks got the Hoover."

Servel, 1944
"Law-dy, it sure is quiet!"

It's not all about the ladies this time... black boys and men were regularly depicted as happily uneducated servants too.

Cream of Wheat, Year Unknown

Fry's Cocoa, 1842

Talon, 1934

Nu-Top, Year Unknown

Hires Rootbeer, Year Unknown


Soda Skinny

The New Year is here, meaning countless women have again made the New Years Resolution to lose weight. In fact, according to the body image statistics on EatingDisorders411.com, 80% of women claim they do not like how they look and 44% claim they are always on a diet.

From the Fifties to the Seventies, one industry launched several ad campaigns to promote their new weight loss products. How can you stay "beautiful, slim and attractive"? How can you be a "mind sticker"? How can you be the girl "girl watchers" watch? The secret is ... SODA!


Paying the Cost to Be The Boss(lady)

...means making sure you always have your leg make-up preparations close by.

When I ran across this ad I thought "Hey! Boss *Lady*, they say! Is this some odd advertising anomaly of yesteryear, some rare relic of female empowerment?

Spoiler Alert: No.

It starts promisingly enough.

"It's her yes or no that goes", the DuBarry ad reads. "She selects spot news items, writes captions, and releases them to hundreds of papers all over the country." Whoa, she's like, a journalist and stuff! She's important! She's the boss ... lady!

"...replacing a man in vital civilian work, as our country asks every woman to do."

Fair enough, this ad is from 1944, when World War II was revolutionizing the role of women in the American workforce. Women all over the United States suddenly found themselves in occupations traditionally considered "man's work." (Which apart from child rearing, cooking and cleaning, was pretty much everything and anything.)

"Miss Callahan handles her man-sized job because she's learned the knack of fitting all of her activities into a streamlined schedule."

Ah, so she's a savvy business woman, is she? A master of organization? A time management genius?

"She's depending on DuBarry's Beauty Preparations for complete beauty care."

Riiiight, I forgot! A woman's first priority is to look attractive! The rest is a cakewalk- look at the woman in the ad; she's gonna let her legs do all the talking, baby! But there was one problem- sure, we could slather salves and powers all over our subpar faces to make them acceptable, but how could we be sure our legs were up to the beauty standard? Thank God Richard Hudnut had the good mind to invent leg make-up preparations for the new business woman on the go!

"DuBarry Leg Make Up has the creamier consistency that will give a smooth finish in just one application!

With both hands, start at heel, work upward and forward. Blend quickly before it dries."

When I read the instructions, it's just like self tanner! I guess we are still using leg make up beauty preparations today... good thing, because we wouldn't want to be wandering around this Man's world looking all pale and disgusting!