Sexist Advertising and stereotypes

Advertising lives in the short-form world. Because mass media is so expensive the 30 second commercial is conventional and because there is so much clutter simplified signals are essential to 'cut through'. One form of communication short-hand used as a default is the stereotype -

"A stereotype can be a conventional and oversimplified conception, opinion, or image, based on the assumption that there are attributes that members of the "other group" have in common. Stereotypes are sometimes formed by a previous illusory correlation, a false association between two variables that are loosely correlated if correlated at all. Though generally viewed as negative perceptions, stereotypes may be either positive or negative in tone."

In the 1950's and 60's when men dominated advertising stereotypical impressions of women as inferior or subservient were not only commonplace but usual. It was normal to show women as housekeepers, largely because most were. The contraceptive pill arrived to emancipate women and it was sex that ultimately overcame the inhibitions of gender.

While it is more common for advertising to show men as stupid or infantile now, back then the shoe was on the other foot (which is a curious expression - if you think about it).

Here's a selection of ads that are offensive to our contemporary sensibility but which should give pause for thought about how people are characterised in advertising today. If you scratch the surface you'll see a lot of guilt being applied (still to women) about their role as working mother - much of it condescending. I'll see what I can dredge up to make my point.


  1. the producers and designers of these advertizements should be in jail for crimes against humanity...and huwomanty

  2. Anonymous6:23 am

    The persons who made this, should be treated just like the women in their ads...

  3. Anonymous2:06 pm

    this is terrible how they betray these women :(

  4. Anonymous10:01 am

    Thanks for posting these! They go great with my CALM project in school. ...It's about stereotypes.
    I totally agree that these people are very unfriendly. I was most disturbed with the advert about the "simple driving"!

  5. Anonymous9:58 am


  6. Anonymous2:15 pm

    these are insulting to woman but they make great pics fora school project on stereotypes

  7. Anonymous1:21 pm

    Awful advertisements

  8. Anonymous11:15 am

    Thx! These are amazing for my school project on stereotyping the sexes. I hate how the women are being treated like slaves and less like men though!:(

  9. Anonymous9:52 am

    I really dont like adverts like these. They are over the top and insulting. :-(
    They helped with my school project though and made people laugh.


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