Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A slightly puzzling Femicin ad, 1968

I came upon this little 1968 magazine ad a couple of months ago, but I've continually held off on posting it.
Maybe I've been chicken...

(click on image to ENLARGE on a new page)

No, it's nothing amazing, but the ad struck me as being particularly significant of - - something.
So I've been occasionally pondering what that something might be, and also pestering a few people for their opinions.

Certainly it has some kitsch value, and resonates a bit of a historical 'time capsule' feeling, but there's something more.

I thought about giving this post a funny or somehow ironic title, but that misses the mark too, I think.

What keeps coming to me, beyond the initial simple 'juxtaposition double-take', is that I really don't think you could get away with running an ad like this these days.

In '68, it was still sort of new and 'progressive' (?) that you'd dare to mention menstrual cramps candidly in an advertisement.

Leaving aside his mixed messages for a moment, the husband is portrayed as making an earnest attempt at sympathy.

So what's changed? What's changed in advertising, and our culture?

One friend of mine said that she thought the ad could run now if it featured a *woman* stating - - 'My husband also suffers from my menstrual cramps', but not otherwise.

As to what the husband is saying and NOT saying, here's what another friend had to say:

"Hmmmmm. Seems like pretty backhanded sympathy.

"The issue which would 'cramp' the style of modern feminists is how the ad plays on 1960's wives' insecurity about what their husbands thought about them. 'She now acts like the woman I married'.

"WOW! That's loaded.

"It would seem that despite the sexual revolution, back then a husband was the ultimate prize and attractiveness was the only bait."

- - A notion which immediately puts me in mind of Burt Bacharach & Hal David's 1963 song,
'Wives and Lovers':

"Hey, little girl, comb your hair, fix your make-up, soon he will open the door.
Don't think because there's a ring on your finger, you needn't try anymore..."

(Click here to head over to YouTube for an oddly appropriate pairing of Nancy Wilson's recorded cover version of the song, linked to a slideshow of vintage cheesecake pin-ups.)

So - - Significant? A waste of time? Funny? Tragic?
What do you think?
Any thoughts you might have regarding this ad, this topic are most welcome. Thanks!

1 comment:

p38 said...

I kept a clipping of that same add for years! I probably still have it in some unexamined corner. I always thought, I bet your suffering if she has cramps! I just thought it was a hoot, but never anything deeper than that.

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