Dodgy gender politics in vintage perfume ads

Let’s get the worst out of the way. Two 1970s adverts for Love’s Baby Soft, going hard for the Lolita market.
If you are strong enough, watch this 1975 advert (subtitles available) which features the woman on the left basically fellating the lollipop. Profoundly wrong and horrible. I am so glad I did not grow up in the 1970s.

Just because a girl knows how to imitate a woman, does NOT mean she’s ready to do what a woman does

Hayley stark (ellen page) in hard candy, 2006

1970s great big beautiful Brut (size doesn’t matter though ladies amirite), followed presumably by the New Man travesty of the early 1990s, before reassuringly MEN came BACK.

I knew I was different. I thought that I might be gay or something because I couldn’t identify with any of the guys at all. None of them liked art or music. They just wanted to fight and get laid. It was many years ago but it gave me this real hatred for the average American macho male.

kurt cobain

More manly manliness. On the left, Jade East from 1964. Note dodgy ‘Oriental’ lettering and Chinese (presumably) characters, and the sub-Don Draper copy. Is that a rapey double-entendre – ‘If she doesn’t give it to you, get it yourself!’ ?

On the right, Macho Musk Oil by Fabergé. I honestly thought this wasn’t real. I’ve quoted the full copy for below, as it is hard to read in the image but amazing. I wonder if this was the inspiration for the Sex Panther cologne scene in Anchorman (subtitles available in clip).
“Macho Musk Oil is for men who want to exercise their natural powers. It takes its cue from your mood chemistry. When your signal is low-key, Macho Musk Oil will be subtle. When you’re in high gear, Macho Musk Oil sends the message unmistakably. Try Macho Musk Oil on your next encounter. After that, you’ll never go it alone. There is a time to be a Macho Man.” (Pseudo-science alert). Perhaps the gentleman doth protest too much.

The Village People singing Macho Macho Man in 1979 (subtitles option available in this YouTube clip)

On the left: Cheeky Charlie for a bit of 1980s fun. Woman pats smiling man’s bottom in consensual flirtation shocker!

On the right: Arpège, I think from the 1970s: ‘ “Someday I’ll take you to the Costa Brava to live. But until then….”
As long as you mean it – Promise her anything but give her Arpège’. Aye, just whatever shuts her up.

I finish with my favourite of the bunch: 1970s MaGriffe advert (#benevolentsexism #spectacularlymissingthepoint #patriarchyhurtsmentoo #maybehejustwantedtojointheprotest). I think Don Draper wrote this copy when he was old and grumpy and the women in the office weren’t putting up with his shit anymore.

Full copy if hard to read:
“You’re liberated.
You lead a woman’s march for equality.
You carry the biggest placard.
You wear MaGriffe.
A man comes along and carries your placard for you.
MaGriffe apologises for unliberating the liberated woman.”

And on the right, a little palate-cleanser – my all time favourite image of a woman protesting.

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