'You Mean A Woman Can Open It?': 37+ Vintage Ads That Would Be Banned Today

Scarlett Adler

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You see, in this day and age, advertising has hijacked our lives, embedding itself into our thoughts. But just a few decades ago, those same ads were laced with misogynistic, highly offensive undertones. Warning: Some millennials may find the following vintage ads disturbing.

She Can Open It!?

This 1953 ad for an Alcoa Aluminum twist-off bottle cap really did go there. And I'm just as shocked as this 'helpless' woman. How else was she supposed to cook in the kitchen all day if her husband was not there to help her? Right?


But have no fear, ladies, even you could've unscrewed one of these bad boys all by yourself! A little offensive to some, but hey, at least manufacturers were looking out for all the housewives.

At Least the Beer Didn't Burn

Speaking of a wife's kitchen duties, this 1952 ad is here to remind us that they need some improvement. But no need to cry, hun, because your husband is very understanding. In fact, while you're fixing your husband's botched meal, he'll be waiting in the den with his Schlitz. Better hurry.


It looks like this woman may not have mastered her kitchen duties just yet, but at least she knows that despite the burnt chicken, the beer is still intact. Let's hope her husband appreciates her preparation since he shows that an ice-cold Schlitz can make everything okay.

Mrs. Gordon Ramsay In the House

This Kenwood ad from the 1950s has got it all wrong. I mean, didn't they learn from the above ad that women can't cook? But worry not - that's what takeout is for. As long as these lovely and loyal housewives had something to put on the table for dinner, that's all that mattered.

Daily Express

Except Kenwood had a better idea, why not create a product that does all of the work for you? It's true, no one has time to beat their own eggs these days, but with the touch of a button that can be done for you. Even wives get lazy sometimes, despite what some of these men used to think.

A Cigarette a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

Well, isn't this funny. These same Camel endorsing doctors are the same guys treating us for our unhealthy cigarette habits. But if our doctors are 'doing it,' then it must be okay, right? Think again, everyone, something just doesn't seem to add up here, and we genuinely hope you didn't fall for this.


And if you did, then the creative minds behind Camel's advertising are more clever than we thought. Just a piece of advice, don't take health tips from cigarette companies. Chances are, they probably do not have the well-being of your lungs in mind, and are just trying to steal the cash right out of your pocket.

A Man's World? Nah

Silly, boy! You don't need Van Heusen to 'show her it's a man's world,' everyone already knows. And women couldn't be happier about their household duties. After all, they just love serving you! Well, at least Van Heusen thought they could fool us all with this illustration.


The days of strong and powerful women tying their husbands' ties are long gone, they can dress on their own from now on! Something tells us this ad wouldn't fly today, especially considering not every woman needs a man to make her life complete. Who runs the world? Girls.

The Best Domesticated Animal

Nothing to see here. Just your daily reminder that women come in handy at home in more ways than you might think. First, it was their cooking. Then it was their immaculate cleaning. Now, it's their luxurious footrests for their significant superior other. How does this make you feel, ladies?

Naukri Nama

First of all, it looks like being a doormat and or footrest would instantly mess up that perfectly combed hair, don't you think? Plus, the back problems this could lead to, no thank you! Females are extremely capable and intelligent, but why lie on the floor when a man could just build a step stool?

So This Is What Innocence Looks Like?

This 1970s ad for a cosmetic fragrance line is outright disturbing to many. In what world does a young girl's innocence get described as 'sexy?' And if that wasn't bad enough, we've got the little girl clad in makeup and a too-mature-for-hear-age up'do. Imagine showing up to fourth grade looking like this?


Of course, she looks beautiful, but why not show off that pre-puberty, wrinkle-free beauty that only lasts for so many years? Maybe there's some confusion about the definition of innocence. Last time we checked, pure innocence means playing on the playground without a care in the world, or a stitch of makeup.

Define Miracle

In this day and age, manipulative cigarette advertisements are usually frowned upon. So imagine the horror going through most people's heads when stumbling upon this gem. Not only is it promoting the dangerous habit, but using an innocent baby to do so. Whose idea was this?


The miracle of Marlboro? How about the miracle of life, demonstrated by this adorable baby! These days it seems like the majority of mothers do everything possible to avoid health hazards for the sake of their children. But hey, to each his own, and I must say, they did catch our eye with the bright colors.

Hips Don't Lie

Fat? Stop eating so much. Skinny? Time to pack on the weight. Come on, girls, did you really think society would ever give you a break? But worry not! Here's how thousands gain those naturally alluring curves, so read carefully, and you'll be sure to see results in weeks.


In this day and age, females are highly discouraged from taking dietary or fitness advice from a piece of paper. Plus, there's no need to let some messy illustrations define you or your self-image. No one fits into a mold, or a specific drawing, as seen in this outdated newspaper advertisement. Just be yourself and nobody else!

Work Hard, Play Hard

Sorry guys, scratch that last ad. Skinny and fat mean nothing if you're not working hard enough. In fact, it looks like the only thing in the way of you, and your cuteness is your cleaning skills. If you ever need proof that it's a man's world, these ads will do just the trick.


But the real question is, is this an accurate statement? Because we're more than happy to ditch the makeup and hair products and go all-natural after a hard day at work. Maybe men aren't so bad, after all, we'd love to waste less time in front of a mirror, especially to scrub the kitchen floor.

Revolvers Are Not Toys

So many thanks are due here. While the holiday season might not be for a few more months, it's never too early to start on that lengthy gift list. With kids' high standards these days, this can be quite a tricky task. But have no fear, Iver Johnson is here, with a whole bunch of toys to choose from.


Did I say toys? My mistake, I meant deadly firearms, so let this serve as a warning to keep these bad boys far away from your little ones. They may look like a brand new shiny toy to show off, but with the pull of a trigger, things could escalate very, very quickly.

Screw the Literature

Who needs books these days anyway?! Television can be educational and stimulate your brain too. It looks like everyone's favorite guilty pleasure actually requires none of the guilt. So put down those books and hit the sofa, because your favorite comedy has all the same benefits.


It's such a relief to finally get approval on skipping out on the high school summer reading and just watching the movie instead. Now that is what we call efficiency, am I right? We're not sure how parents feel about Motorola's message, but for teenagers, this is the green light they've always wanted.

Efficient and Fun!

We all want that perfectly blow-dried look, but who really has the patience or wrist flexibility to achieve that? And not to mention the burnt scalp feeling, no thank you. They all say beauty is pain, but clearly, there is a very fine line that we'd rather not cross.


So in that case, we present to you the one, the only, Flip 'N Style hairdryer. Not to worry, it wasn't the cause of this girl losing her hair. This little contraption is so amusing that even people without hair play around with it for fun. Now that's what I call versatility.

Here Comes the Sun

If you're still waiting to win mom-of-the-year, you clearly haven't forced a sun lamp in your baby's face yet. And with that beautiful, bronze after-glow of this, you'll be ashamed you didn't try it sooner. And if you want the full effect, be sure to place it right above the crib for an extra-long tanning session.


We know what you're probably thinking: This thing is going to burn my baby alive! But don't worry, it's good for these little bundles of joy, you don't even need to apply sunscreen. These days, something tells us this wouldn't fly, but years ago, people did whatever it took for the perfect sun-kissed glow.

The Choice Is Clear

Clearly, whoever said 'good things come in small packages' knew exactly what they were talking about. I mean, obviously, babies wrapped in cellophane are something every mother could only dream about. So what are you waiting for? Head down to your local Office Depot today.


While Du Pont definitely got their point across that they produce the world's strongest and most durable cellophane, this ad may have been a little misleading. You're probably wondering why they didn't use a rock or piece of meat with the cellophane? Well, let's just leave it at that.

Cola for All

Fun fact: Those who start drinking Coca Cola at an earlier age have been proven to live a better life. As a matter of fact, you can finally stop forcing that leafy spinach down your little one's throat. And we have a feeling your kids will thank you. Behold, a win-win for everyone.


Just imagine a world with babies becoming caffeine addicts. Now that's a scary thought, are they going to start drinking coffee at age five too? On the one hand, at least these mothers avoided the extra chemicals that diet soda is made up of. Just pure sugar and caffeine, nothing better!

Best Kept Secret

Did you know that cigarettes not only cure lung problems but also treat asthma?! Neither did we. Maybe that has a little something to do with the fact that they don't. Folks, for the love of God, don't try this at home, Joy might not be as trustworthy as you thought.

Fine Art America

Immediate relief of wheezing and coughing, seriously? My oh my this company had some nerve trying to fool people like this. Notice how the advertisement specifies that these particular cigarettes "may be safely smoked by ladies and children." Hmm, are they implying that other cigarettes are forbidden for women and children?

No Need to Wine Anymore

Folks, if you're thinking of stopping by your therapist's office for your expensive weekly appointment, think again. Thanks to this liquid gold, your dark days will be over before you know it, as we know what can help you far more than talking about your feelings on a couch.


You saw it here first; Phosferine Tonic Wine is sure to give you immense strength and give you the will to live that you've always been waiting for. But what happens the next morning, after a heaping dose of this magic wine the night before? Sounds like a headache waiting to happen, am I right?

The Right Time Is Now

It appears we've been misled this whole time: Two wrongs DO make a right, apparently. Don't believe me? Just ask Winchester. Are you wondering why this boy is holding a gun that's bigger than him? Because we are. Maybe these people live in the woods and have to hunt for their food, who knows.


We're getting the sense that this ad isn't exactly used nowadays since possession of firearms isn't even legal in many states. So, encouraging minors to get a hold of them probably wouldn't go over very well today. If you look closely, you might even spot a glimpse of fear in the boy's eyes.

27 Dresses

This ad from the 1920s reminds women everywhere about their helpless reality. That's right ladies, if you don't end up landing a husband, you might very well be miserable forever. And Eleanor is all the proof that you need. Wow, we learn something new every day.


This is actually rather somewhat, as expectations have entirely changed, and so many couples live happily ever after without even getting married. Maybe whoever created this ad was the inspiration behind the movie 27 Dresses. Just remember, there are plenty of Eleanors out there that end up perfectly happy.

Which Equipment?

This next one is supposed to be advertising Bell & Howell projection equipment. But you see, the only thing looking equipped in this picture is Sabrina. And not because of the film projector she's holding. If anyone's mastered the art of manipulation, it's Bell & Howell.


Do you think they ended up selling a lot of projectors from this advertisement? If they did, then I genuinely commend this company. Let's hope they split the profit with good old Sabrina because let's face it, she did all the selling without even lifting a finger.

Put Her in Her Place

Oh okay. So a woman belongs naked on the floor staring at her man's shoes? Big thanks to this advertisement for clarifying. It probably won't come as a surprise when I tell you this gem was featured in Playboy magazine. Maybe back in the day, objectifying women and portraying them strictly as housewives were acceptable, but today?


Nonetheless, if this the ad was released today, Hugh Hefner's empire just might have a lot of backlashes to deal with. Who lays on the floor just to stare at an unworn men's shoe anyway? And she looks quite intrigued by it, which is the most confusing part.

Brewing Rage

You already know that it's obviously a woman's duty to do the grocery shopping each week. So how dare she bring home that generic, stale brew, am I right? Of course, such a horrific offense warrants a slap from the man of the house. Totally understandable... Sheesh.


Well, ladies, if you're looking to avoid a harsh punishment from your man, it seems like the only thing to do is to buy Chase & Sanborn coffee. No need to take chances on flat and stale coffee when you have this gourmet brew to satisfy your husband every morning. And remember, taste before you buy to assure you won't get spanked.

Horsing Around

Please tell me I'm not the only one who sees it. This bizarre 1880s ad is a little too disturbing for our liking. You see, grandpa and his horse are a little too close for comfort. And it really makes you wonder why they couldn't have been out in the stalls instead of sharing a bed.


The horse looks ecstatic to be living like a king, and having his human personally tend to his wounds, what a privilege! Let's just hope there was no cross-contamination between human and horse wounds in the making of this advertisement since, after all, Pratts claims their ointment is for people and animals.

The Romance Killer

Okay, let me get this straight. Women need to be in the kitchen at all times. And of course, that apparently includes always washing dishes. But, God forbid they let their hands look like they've been washing those dishes? Someone help us out here because things don't seem to be adding upright.


If romance dies at the touch of dishpan hands, then maybe romance never really did exist. Or perhaps this is a great reason to get away with ordering takeout more often. Let's weigh the options, dry and unromantic hands, or an overflow of takeout boxes. What would you choose?

No Shades of Gray

Why be sexist when you can also be ageist? Two birds with one stone. Obviously, when it comes to women in the workplace, they'll need to look as appealing as ever to snag that attractive secretary position. Because it's not like they're skilled enough to do anything other than fetch that morning coffee, or so they say.


So if you start to notice some gray hair, it's game over honey. Unless, of course, you get this taken care of as soon as possible with a time consuming and expensive color treatment. It's funny because going gray today has become its own trend, with girls in their 20s dying their hair a shade of gray.

The 'Curves' of Youth

Oh my God, this may seem horrifying for some people. Why would anyone choose to sport the same 'accessories' as Mr. Hannibal Lecter himself? Then again, you'd be blessed with the curves of youth, so maybe all that pain and discomfort is worth it, after all.

Social Gazette

Whatever happened to good old healthy eating and exercise? We're pretty sure it's been proven that nutrition and fitness are the most significant contributors to one's figure and potential double chin. Can your chin bulk up just like your triceps? Even if it can, this contraption looks slightly uncomfortable.

Million Dollar Question

Hey, don't hate. Clearly, these men have got their priorities in check. I mean, isn't it every woman's purpose to serve as arm candy for the 'man of the house?' It's ironic for a man who's gone at work all day to call himself the 'man of the house' when really, his wife might be controlling the household work.


So does this mean if a woman doesn't put on a full face of makeup and sleep in hair curlers each night to put on the perfect show, she's nothing to be proud of? Well, of course not! At least, not today. Who cares about fitting the mold of old school society and wasting time applying makeup.


Oh no! This poor woman has been locked away from her knight in shining armor in this bizarre Lysol ad. How will she possibly be able to survive without him? Perhaps we'll never know. Could this be a Cinderella or Repunzel spinoff? Who knew fairytales could happen in real-life!


It looks like this woman's 'true love' may have locked her in a closet, not so romantic after all, is it? I guess that's what happens when you don't clean the right way, or when you don't explicitly use Lysol, really. If the company was able to brainwash these poor women, then boy did they make quite a profit.

Staying Relevant 101

Desperate for your man's attention? Well, thanks to this Tab soda ad, we've got you covered. You see, he doesn't care about your wits or humor, you simply need to stay in shape. Fair enough, no? Some may say ditch the soda to keep fit, but with Tab, there's simply no need.


Clearly, the only thing that matters in life is staying inside of a man's brain until he pops the question, right? Then comes the usual housewife duties, which means a lifetime of staying fit and presentable. Let's face it, being a 'mindsticker' sounds like a waste of time. Just be yourself, and someone is sure to love you for that!

Not the Manicure!

Now isn't this thoughtful? Finally, someone acknowledges the challenge pitted against women: broken fingernails. At least this woman has finally built up the courage to stand up to her husband and tell him that it's not so easy being a housewife all the time, or affordable with all those manicures.


The Sears Kenmore stove not only cleans itself but prevents women from needing that extra manicure each month. The slogan is "designed for you, but built for your husband." What if this lovely lady wants to cook Sunday dinner all by herself on this fancy stove? Let's hope her husband allows it.

Shape Up

Let's have a moment of appreciation for Warner's life-changing girdle. I mean, what would girls do if they were cursed with the shape of a pear? Thank God those horror days are behind us, thanks to advancements like this one. At least that's what they want us to think.


I mean, can you even read this without laughing? Curves are all the rage these days, and if you've got 'em, flaunt 'em! Women and men come in all different shapes and sizes, so no article of clothing or undergarment is fit for us all. Whatever shape you are, embrace it, and don't feel the need to fit into any mold.

Expecting Illnesses

Folks, wondering what to gift that expectant mother? Thank god for Nico Time because now we've got the perfect answer. In fact, you can put down those pickles and chocolate bars, because their biggest craving is now cigarettes! After a cigarette, you can go inhale some asbestos while you're at it.


As long as it's written on paper that these cigarettes are safe for pregnant women, then that's all the approval needed, right? If you're reading this and you're pregnant or you know someone who is, please do everyone a favor and disregard the above advertisement. Let's be real; Smoking while pregnant is not the safest idea.

Driving for Dummies

An advertisement for easy driving, with a confused woman pictured on the cover: not offensive at all. But our only question here is who let this woman out of the house. She should obviously be working on her cooking skills in the kitchen and scrubbing the toilets, right?


Last time we checked, plenty of men are most definitely not the best drivers out there. Doesn't the ability to drive have more to do with eyesight than gender? But it's good to know that the Mini automatic is out there, for those who prefer 'simple driving,' of course.

Ol' MacDonald Had DDT

How does that popular song go? "Ol' MacDonald had a farm…with highly toxic pesticides, e-i-e-i-o." If this vintage ad praising highly toxic pesticides doesn't make you cringe, you must not be a dedicated farmer. Maybe Ol' MacDonald has been looking out for our wellbeing all along, and we didn't even know it.


No DDT, no problem, am I right? Organic eating seems like the most significant trend in supermarkets nowadays, so if you see any product with different letter combinations, it's probably filled with chemicals. Don't be fooled by the singing animals, folks.

Going Bananas

Don't worry - you're not the only one who sees more than just a tasty banana. And while I'm sure that's not the direction these advertisers were going for, it's definitely where they ended up. And it's left us feeling slightly uncomfortable. Talk about going bananas.

In The War Between.

Would this Chiquita advertisement steer you away from buying their bands and go with a competitor's fruit? We're pretty sure many parents might stop bringing their children to the grocery store if this is the kind of content that fills the aisles. Imagine forcing your kids to eat their fruits and vegetables and showing them this.

Bumpy Ride

Oh, the joys of the 1950s ads. Clearly, they knew exactly how to lure their customers in. In fact, we're willing to bet a ride in the Pontiac Star Chief was nothing short of a wild one. But be cautious, it's going to get bumpy back there, so buckle up.


This vehicle has so much extra legroom, you can do all sorts of extracurricular activities, and spread your legs in every which way. Perfect for a drive-in movie, or to keep your children comfortable on a long car ride. No more getting kicked in the back of the seat during hour three, thank God!

Vacation On a Vespa

No vacation is complete without a ride down the scenic route on a Vespa. The wind blowing in your hair, cruising through the countryside, wow, there's nothing better. But what if this advertisement showed an old hair man on a Vespa, then would you buy it?


Oh man, these were the days when women were the selling point of all products, no matter what they were. We must say, though, it's refreshing to see a female out and about exploring the world rather than cooking and cleaning for once. Clearly, women are much more powerful than many of these ads portrayed them to be.

Better Rush to Those Veggies

Eat your fruits and vegetables, kids! Well, in this case, the emphasis on healthy eating may be directed towards far more people than just children. Perhaps even men, we all know they need some help getting the proper nutrients. And this, for sure, seems like an appropriate outfit for picking vegetables.


You heard it here first, better rush to those vegetables before they go out of season! What a shame this young lady's skirt happened to blow up in the wind while she was picking out the perfect bunch of vegetables. It's a funny coincidence that she was wearing a harder underneath, what nice preparation!

Help There's a Mouse!

Now tell us, why does this advertisement for d-CON mouse traps have to feature a petrified woman hiding from the innocent little rodent? That's great that it was known to be the cleanest, safest, and easiest mouse repellent out there, but something tells us even women had the brainpower to operate these gadgets.

Meandering Mouse

With all that was expected of women during the day, did they really have the time to wait on a kitchen chair for their husband to get home and set up the mouse traps? That pot roast wasn't going to cook itself, so there was simply no time to waste on shrieking at the sight of mice.

Spam Helped America Win the War

This loaf of mystery meat, also known as spam, was a mixture of discarded pork meat and ham and was sold for a very reasonable price. Shoppers weren't exactly attracted to this meat's description, so there was a lot of pressure on the creative team behind the advertisements.


Just look at this meaty platter, you might even mistake the hunk of spam for a deliciously juicy pork loin. When Jay Hormel first introduced the product in 1937, he had no idea it would double as a family meal and food for soldiers at war. Since it was so cheap, the government stocked up on it to feed the army.

Cake Appeal

Now would you look at that cake appeal? From the luscious pearls to her diamond ring and a freshly baked cake, it's clear that this lovely lady can do it all. Just look at the satisfaction in her husband's eye, he knows he's found a keeper, and she's worth showing off to the world.


If baking a delicious cake is all we need to do to win over a man, then you bet we'll strive to be the next Betty Crocker! All thanks to the Wear-Ever aluminum cake pans, any woman can pull together a show-stopping spread for every significant occasion, or just to welcome her husband home from a long day at work.

Who Wears the Pants?

By now you've probably gotten the idea of these vintage ads, women hardly ever 'wore the pants' in the relationship. Although they kept the house in tip-top shape and put food on the table every evening, the honorable pants were reserved for the man, of course.


But not to worry, this lady still had the demanding responsibility of buying her husband's pants, actually buying all of his clothing, since he was too busy earning the cash. She was also responsible for doing laundry in the house, so finding a way to make these articles of clothing last a long time was vital.

Chilled Milky Ways All the Way

The perfect after school snack: a chilled Milky Way, of course! But last time we checked, hungry children don't exactly need their candy bars to be served on a silver platter. They'll surely rip them out of this mother's hands before she even has time to set the tray down on the kitchen table.

How funny she decided to match her lipstick and nail polish just in time to serve an afternoon snack to the kids in the neighborhood. Chances are, her intentions may not have been just to feed these hungry kids. After all, vegetables are more of a nutritious snack than chilled chocolate.

A Mustang to Match Your Lips

It's nice to see a woman driving a mustang rather than the Mini that was pictured earlier in the article, you know, the ones made for 'simple driving.' But if a woman dares to drive this over the top car, then she must match her lipstick to her sweet ride, right?

We've got to give Tussy Cosmetics some credit though, this ad must have been quite appealing to females at one point in time. Getting a whole new supply of lipstick and an out of this world ride, who doesn't want that? To top it off, the car came in three glamourous colors, one to fit every personality.

A Magical Kiss

For all of the ladies reading this article who are so desperately trying to please your husbands, we'll let you in on a little secret. One word: Budweiser. The King of beers will give your husband that romantic knowledge he needs to sweep you off your feet like a Queen.


If you're trying to make your man look good in front of his poker friends, this refreshing beverage will do just the trick. If he doesn't literally lift you off your feet with a kiss of all kisses after popping open a cold one for him and the boys, he clearly doesn't know how lucky he is.

A Little Water Never Killed Nobody

Just throw some water on your wife, she doesn't care, trust us! As you can see in this extraordinarily respectful and modest advertisement, hosing a woman down is the perfect solution to any stains she might have obtained while slaving away in the kitchen. At least her husband's finally pitching in with the manual labor.


Do you think she even had a stain on her dress? Something tells us this man may or may not have had some anterior motives while literally hosing off his wife. Or maybe it was a sweltering day, and he wanted her to cool off since the pool wasn't open yet. Now that would be thoughtful, I guess we'll never know the truth.

Useful Christmas Gift

Christmas is that one time of year everyone looks forward to because it's the chance to get an unnecessary, useless gift just because it's 'the most wonderful time of the year.' But apparently, this wasn't always the case for housewives. Here we have this woman literally stroking her new vacuum cleaner as if she just won the lottery.


It looks like all women will be happier with a Hoover, especially on Christmas morning. Maybe this was a super exciting shiny new gadget that this lady always dreamt of, or maybe her husband just wanted her to step up her cleaning routine. But hey, I guess there are worse, less useful gifts out there.

Breakfast All Day Long

This old school Mornidine advertisement did nothing but emphasize the role of women in the kitchen. It was a drug that women often took during pregnancy to help with morning sickness, so shouldn't they be lying down after taking it? Clearly, men didn't see any value in their wives resting, even when carrying their child.


So as long as a woman could subside nausea, all that mattered was frying eggs and bacon first thing in the morning. Now that is what we call appreciate for women, am I right? Well, at least this poor pregnant woman had the rest of the day to rest, once she finished her housework, of course.

Men and Their Ham

First thing's first, why can't a man pack his own picnic basket? With all that's expected of a wife, maybe her husband could put his ham sandwich in the basket. Is that too much to ask? Well, either way, Underwood deviled ham claimed to be the ultimate mantrap picnic snack.


And the only proper way to advertise this particular cut of meat was to show a woman preparing it with love for her husband, obviously. On a positive note, at least Underwood sold ready to assemble sandwich sets, so the woman of the household didn't have to do any cooking, just layer the bread, meat, and condiments in perfect form.