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September 1, 2022

“We’re Pushing Leotards. Get your hands on some.” – Chemstrand Nylon Ad, 1959

“Cold and getting colder: now’s the time to push stretch tights.” Agree. This would have been a sensible ad promoting a sensible product if not for that hand on the woman’s butt. It’s not only a tasteless and literal interpretation of the phrase “pushing leotards,” but the ad just sexualized the image with a show of physical harassment.

This ad was run and printed at a time when Chemstrand Nylon was stuck with a huge inventory of leotards. Surprisingly, a lot of women in the 1950s did not find the picture offensive because numerous orders for the pants followed, making the trade ad successful. Or perhaps it was just getting really cold then, and the women needed the warm and comfortable undergarment.

Fast forward to today, and you’ll see women of all ages wearing similar tights or leggings but as pants and not undergarments. However, try to place your hand on a woman’s butt, and you’ll find yourself facing a sexual harassment case.


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