4 min read
What’s the best advert you’ve ever seen? It’s surely got to be one that really made you smile and stays long in the memory. My personal favourite is the gorilla playing the drums for Dairy Milk. Do you remember it?
Throughout history, companies have always tried to catch our attention with their adverts, but sometimes they have really crossed the line. In this blog we will take a look at many adverts from the last century that are so sexist, they almost can’t be believed. Some of these will really shock you!
Sadly this trend of sexist advertising wasn’t left behind with the turn of the millenium. In recent years we have still seen a number of adverts that have used the same stereotypes as those from the 20th century.
The following 2 adverts from Calvin Klein and Gap have the men/boys shown as the people who will go on to make money and be successful with women being happy doing something else.
The following advert was displayed in the UK in 2015 and it caused a lot of controversy. As Adrielle Munger, an activitist with Redstockings, said “These advertisements are not just offending or insulting us, but oppressing us by creating a hugely pervasive climate of sexualizing women.” Do you agree?
The future of adverts
However, having seen all of these, the future is looking promising! One of the world’s major companies, Unilever, who produce all sorts of goods ranging from Dove to Ben and Jerry’s, have committed to changing their adverts in the future to drop stereotypes. Research that they carried out showed that 40% of women do not identify with the women that they see in adverts. Additionally, just 2% of adverts showed intelligent women and only 1% showed women being funny. These statistics really show how advertising has been too male focused and for this reason, Unilever are going to change how they portray women in these adverts and you could imagine that other companies will be following.
A clear example of the change in Unilever is this: the first is their advert from a couple of years ago which showed a mother and daughter cooking using a Knorr stock pot and the second in the relaunched advert now features a father and his son.
If you’ve enjoyed looking at these examples, then take a look at this BuzzFeed article with some more examples of sexist adverts from the present day.
We really hope that more companies take Unilever’s research and change in policy into account when advertising in the future. We do not want a return to the 1950’s!
Which of these adverts shocked you the most? We would love to hear from you!
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