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May 3, 2022

“How Can He Explain to His Sensitive Young Wife?” – A Zonite Douche Ad From 1950

Even after the Federal Trade Commission issued statutes about “truth in advertising,” advertising men sought ways to formulate new, harsher truths about real, but decidedly exaggerated maladies. “There’s a womanly offense – greater than body odor or bad breath!” whispered the subhead in an ad for the feminine hygiene product called Zonite.

Under the headline “How can he explain to his sensitive young wife?” a photo of somewhat disgusted young man with a comic thought balloon over his head, read “There are some things a husband just can’t mention to his wife!” Meanwhile Zonite was being promoted as the “modern miracle” because no other “douche is so powerful yet safe to tissues.”

Zonite douche was a competitor to Lysol, which marketed its product towards a similar usage. There was an unspoken subtext that it could also be used as a contraceptive, although it didn’t really work. This ad is from 1950.


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