Offensive and Sexist Ads from The Past

Times sure have changed over the last century or so when it comes to advertising. We’ll have a look at print ads from the early 1900s and up into the 50s. This is a bygone era when sexism was the norm. This was an era where racism and intolerance were a commonplace.  Of course, they were not considered as such since they were reflective of the times.

Even now, TV ads get pulled from time to time because certain groups or organizations find them offensive. Complaining about ads back then probably wouldn’t do a whole lot. At least we can now look back and reflect on how far today’s society has come. Below, you will find some of the finest vintage print ads that I could find for your viewing pleasure.

Offensive and Sexist Print Ads from the Past

The company always used an African-American woman who was supposed to be a slave as a spokesperson. On the ads, she would use “Slave slang”.

Sexist Aunt Jemima Ad

AC Spark Plugs print ad depicting an African-American man as a monkey in a suit. During this era, many companies used monkeys or apes in place of African Americans.

Sexist Spark Plugs Ad scaled

Elliott’s White Veneer had an ad which showed an African American boy painting another African American boy with the veneer. It stated, “SEE HOW IT COVERS OVER BLACK”. Ridiculous eh?

Racist White Veneer Ad1 e1321927122107 scaled

And they just go on and on…

Extended Gallery

Have a look at the roundup gallery below for fine examples of racist and sexist print ads. But if you’re looking for something a lot more pleasant, here’s a much better kind of roundup.



Art & Photography

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Hi Guys, I’d like to take the time to thank you for reading some info about me. My mission here as a writer at Unfinished man, is to entertain and inform on all things, from cars and gadgets, to reviews and life. I have a Bachelor in business but never really enjoyed school. I’d much prefer to spend time working on Unfinished Man than spending my days working long hours in some stuffy office. I love green tea and pistachios and my favourite fruit is pomegranate (weird I know). I hate the water but love nature, especially the nature here in my adopted country of Canada.

6 comments on “Offensive and Sexist Ads from The Past”

    • Maybe something to do with “putting their heads together”, not the head on your shoulders but the other one? I’m guessing…

  1. Oh yeah, those ads for “feminine hygiene” because you’re “driving your man away with stank”.

    ROFL! As if men smell any better, especially those who don’t pull it back to wash that nasty gunk that gathers.

    So glad that nowadays we can equally tell them to F-off if they don’t clean themselves.


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