Men in Advertising

H269 SoapAd.jpg

S.O.S. Soap Advertisement 

Men were also depicted in advertising, but they were usually pictured doing “manly” things such as sports or outdoor activities (Young 49). They were rarely, if ever, shown as caregivers because that was considered to be in the feminine sphere. If advertisements depitcted them with children, the father would be outside with his sons doing a masculine activity like playing sports (McDonnell, 17).

In the ad for S.O.S. Soap, which was used to clean car tires, a man cleans his tires with them while a woman lounges on the hood of the car, acting as more of a prop than an active figure. For any item that was deemed too complex for a woman to understand, the male took the dominant role in the advertisement to affirm the “traditional male authority” (Young 49). In any ad that deals with products outside of the domestic sphere, women must rely on a man to be knowledgeable about the subject, like finances or insurance, and give their approval to the woman’s purchases (Young 49-50). When the ad does deal with a domestic item, though, men become the subservient figure, remaining inactive in the background, because advertisers did not want to portray men assisting in domestic activities (Young 50). 

Advertising in the 1950s
Men in Advertising