Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Aren't You Ashamed... of Your Dishpan Hands?

I'm sorry to have to inform you, ladies, that advertisers of the 40's and 50's seem to have found far more female shortcomings to exploit than male ones.

Men's magazines like Esquire have only the barest minimum of ads trying to take advantage of potential male insecurities. I found only the occassional ad about thinning hair, for instance.

But women's magazines of the day were filled with images of embarrassed and discomforted females worrying about everything from girdle shape to dishpan hands.

So don't blame me that the rest of this week will focus pretty much exclusively on your real or imagined shortcomings, ladies. Blame Madison Avenue!


  1. Jeff Norwell1:30 PM

    I believe those are Harry Beckoff illos...mmmnn

  2. Just what I was thinking , Beckoff kicks!

    I've a great scan from the Heritage auction site a few years back if you're interested Leif?

    Thanks for sharing .

  3. "Dwight"? "Stout"? What's with those names, anyway?

    Great theme, Lief...I'm getting more than a few laughs out of these old ads. Sadly, not a whole lot has changed when it comes to exploiting insecurities to sell something... :)

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  5. beautiful old pieces! I like your blog very well!
    greetings from munich/south germany!

  6. Barbara Bradley emailed me the following comment and gave me permission to post it here:

    Hello Leif,

    I, like Jeff, suspect that the ivory ads were by Beckoff. The drawings are little gems, whoever did them. The Sanforized ad surprised me because it certainly doesn't look like a Gilbert Bundy, who did the Sanforized I remember. Bundy's were particularly fresh, wonderful, and filed with long-legged beauties, all of whom had delightfully protruding upper teeth, rather like Gene Tierney's.


  7. Thanks to all for the comments! I can see that Beckhoff is well received by this crowd. Dom, I'd love to see that piece you mentioned from Heritage!

    Chrissie; I must agree - and as someone else mentioned, with today's ads for Viagra and such, some of these do seem quite tame at exploiting our insecurities, don't they.

    frank schmolke; greetings to you as wel and thanks very much! :-)

  8. What a surprise! Searching for hands illustrations I´ve found this beautiful blog.. I love vintage illustrations.

    Regards from Spain!