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July 23, 2022

“Fourteen-Hour Wives of Eight-Hour Men” – 1893 Newspaper Advertisement for Gold Dust Washing Powder

Since its inception, advertising mirrored the common realities of the era. It not only reflected products and services that consumers could buy but also depicted situations in which it can be used. For instance, showcasing women in washing powders advertisements was a norm of sorts.

In the West, an 1893 advertisement from Chicago-based soap manufacturer N.K Fairbank Co. showed a woman on her knees as she scrubbed the floor. The tagline on the advertisement said, “fourteen-hour wives of eight-hour men, need Gold Dust washing powder. To enable them to get through work as early as their husbands.”

While this ad finally acknowledges a woman’s hard work and how she puts in more hours than her husband, it also manages to belittle all a wife’s effort. In fact, N. K. Fairbank & Company is telling women that they need the Gold Dust washing powder to make them more efficient with housework and enable them to complete all their chores in eight hours just like men.

Of course, the men behind this sexist ad probably never spent a day cleaning the house, cooking meals, washing the dishes, doing the laundry, ironing the clothes, caring for the children, and the list goes on—there are simply more tasks to juggle than there are hours in a day. And no type of dust—gold, fairy, flight-inducing or otherwise—can help a woman complete all her chores unless her husband comes with the washing powder to help her with the housework.

Also, let’s not forget that men typically have weekends off while the woman is expected to cook, clean, and take care of the family even on Saturdays and Sundays.

1 comment:

  1. The "sexist ad" was made 129 years ago. Get over it.




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