Mansize Tissues – and Other Goods

kleenex

So, after 60 years, and following complaints about sexism, Kleenex are getting rid of their ‘Mansize’ tissues and renaming them Extra Large. This got me thinking about other goods past and present which could possibly be considered offensive by some people.

He-Man

This is a brand which has always amused me. Driving Instructors’ cars often used to carry a sign on the back saying ‘Fitted with He-Man Dual Controls’. Suggesting perhaps that only men can teach people to drive? I looked the company up as I’m not sure I still see the signs and I found that they are still in existence and still fitting dual controls in cars.

As I started to look around on the Internet for examples of brand names from the 50s and 60s which could be perceived as being sexist, I found instead some examples of current things which have caused a stir.

doritos    doritos-women-lady-crunch-low-snack

This one is from earlier this year. The quote below is from the Independent;

‘The “lady-friendly” version of the popular tortilla chips will make less of a crunch noise when you eat them, will be smaller in size and the packet is being specifically designed to fit inside a handbag. Because struggling to fit packets of crisps in our bags and the noise that comes with eating tortilla chips is clearly of huge concern to women today.’

Apparently, these ‘lady-friendly’ Doritos were never actually launched and the whole story stemmed from an interview with PepsiCo. CEO Indra Nooyi in which she discussed the idea of launching handbag sized packets of the product. Maybe the whole story was a bit of a ‘storm in a crisp packet’.

Gendered-Toys

There have been complaints about Kinder Surprise being gender-specific. Blue wrapped eggs contain ‘boy toys’ and pink ones ‘girl toys’ although the wording carefully avoids mention boys and girls.

Dolly Babe shoe

 

Another current one. Clarks have received complaints about this model of girls’ shoe which was named the Dolly Babe.

waitrose

Waitrose have renamed this sandwich after complaints from customers.

Bristol Ale   Noelle beer

Oh dear! And these are current – in spite of having a 50s look and being incredibly sexist.

Relish

This is one I’m just slotting in here for fun. Gentleman’s Relish spread has been around since before Victorian times and is still sold in higher-end food stores and delicatessens here in the UK. I couldn’t find any record of anyone objecting to it. I have occasionally bought it as a tongue-in-cheek birthday or Christmas present for male relatives.

 

So, I set out to look for sexist brand names from the unenlightened 50s and 60s and have ended up finding plenty of current ones. I’ll finish with a few truly terrible ads which are from the 50s – I’ve shown some of these in earlier posts.

Sexism-In-Vintage-Ads-14     Sexism-In-Vintage-Ads-11

Sexism-In-Vintage-Ads-15     offending_lysol1

Mordine        marriagead

 

 

Images taken from Google Images. If anyone has reason to object to the use of any pictures used, please contact me via this blog.

8 thoughts on “Mansize Tissues – and Other Goods

  1. Oh, those 1950s ads were the pits! Lysol for feminine hygiene? And treating morning sickness (I assume that’s what mornidine was for) so she can cook breakfast? No wonder so many of us born in the 1940s and 1950s grew up to be feminists.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think it’s something to do with the post-WW2 society. Women had been able to do so much during the war, and when the husbands and boyfriends came home it was natural that people should want to set up homes and start families. But I don’t think many women expected or wanted to become lifelong servants in their own households with constant commercially-driven reminders of how replaceable they were.

    A fair proportion of women from that generation returned to paid employment (if it was available where they lived) in the 1960s. From that perspective, these ads look like some sort of bizarre social experiment that (fortunately) failed.

    Liked by 2 people

    • That is such an interesting theory and one which hadn’t occurred to me before. I have often wondered why the women who worked during the war happily went back to domesticity. These sort of ads exerted their own kind of pressure. Be great in the home or he’ll leave again. Thank goodness we eventually broke away from all that!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Actually, I have a different take on. I think that, rather than this being how society regarded women then, I think it’s far more how commercial art studios and the ad agencies or equivalent were catering to their clients… There was a very stylized image of women (and is what the modern fashions of girls and women of impossible shapes are, unfortunately, still based on) and was probably originally taken from the movies (which in turn were based on the silent movies with their almost-pantomime theatricality and before that, music hall).

    Bear in mind, most of what you’re seeing is from commercial ads, and from magazines and books (like the Good Housekeeping series which had ads inside their front and back covers). People in their daily lives in those times were as individualistic as anyone is these days. In my opinion, a more accurate way to guage how men and women regarded each other, is to look at letters from those days.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Once again, Val, I do agree with what you say. My mum was certainly her own person and our home life was not like the lives portrayed in those ads. The thing is, did the normal women of the time feel that this is what they should be living up to and did it make them feel inadequate? In the same way today, we know that normal women are not uniformly sylph-like with porcelain complexions, whiter than white teeth and glossy manes of long thick hair. But young girls see the images and grow up into women with no confidence in their appearance. As always,I try and write these posts to show ‘snapshots’ of the times without weighting them with my own opinions. I might not always succeed! I love it when people comment, thanks!

    Like

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