It’s easy to laugh at ads of yesteryear that come off as almost shockingly tone-deaf today. For this week’s Throwback Thursday, we’re bringing you ads that in retrospect are what you would call politically incorrect. These are commercials from the 1960s and ’70s with a hint of sexism or a dollop of racism. If we were in a generous mood, we can chalk them up to, “They just didn’t know any better.”
Women — surprise, surprise — were typecast either as kitchen-bound housewives (Gold Medal Flour), unreliable drivers (Goodyear Tires) or simpleton office candy (Xerox). (Before we get too smug about it, though, let us remember that commercials today are more likely to feature bikini-clad babes lustfully gobbling burgers than they were back then.) Interestingly, none of the women in our retro supercut is scantily clad or overtly sexualized.
Minorities, for their part, didn’t fare well either. They were infrequently represented in the mass media back then, but when they did appear in on-screen ads, it was with exaggerated accents and wearing stereotypical garb. The Chinese supposedly have “ancient secrets” for just about everything from Jell-O to Calgon detergent. And who can forget the gun-slinging Frito Bandito with his sombrero and mariachi mustache?
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