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Progressively Sexist – Today’s Discriminatory Advertising

Joan and Peggy in a world of Mad Med

Recently it seems like everyone’s stuck trying to define his or her own human rights in today’s society. Religious freedom is strongly misconstrued by fanatics and radicals; human rights are being exploited in all parts of the world, and human rights for any sexual orientation are being ignored, not just in other countries, but also in America, “the land of the free”.

Leaving local politics aside, after years of oppression and progress, women’s rights have once again taken a back seat to entertainment and profit. In the time where retro and pop art have become so popular that 1950s paraphernalia is considered “hip”, we have come to the point where a sense of style is more important than the underlying struggle that comes with it.

Joan and Peggy in Mad Men

Trends like the highly acclaimed Mad Men doesn’t intend to hide behind the glitz and glamour of Madison Avenue. Brutal truths like the African American riots, and the women’s movement are depicted as truthfully as they can, without taking away from the main purpose of the show. It presents strong women characters, like the now grown-up Peggy, who strong-armed her way into a world of men and made a name for herself, or the witty but determined Joan, who made the difficult but firm decision to raise her child on her own after her husband returned to war. The struggle of women is there; they still had to “stay in their place”, free speech was still taboo, but the way they fight and take a stand for their own rights turns these women into role models of harsher times.

Since then, women have claimed their freedom to vote, hold public office, serve in the military, have an education, work and receive equal pay as men… and this has shown, not only progress for women, but also for the LGBT community, who (in most states) have been granted the opportunity to wed freely and join our military ranks without discrimination. You’d think now women would have it easy. So when we see commercials like the following, we can’t help but wonder: “Where did we go wrong?”


What could compel an advertising company in this day and age, to discriminate against women in order to sell a product? After so much controversy in terms of adverts and commercials damaging basic human rights, it seems ludicrous to think they might actually have a strong target audience to bring their product to. As the Today show explains here, this is a long-standing campaign that has been going on subliminally for years. It not only discriminates against women, but also against the male psyche, and is bound to receive a strong backlash from the LGBT community as well.

What has caused society to create so much animosity towards the so-called “weaker sex”? Why so little tolerance for human progress? These questions might seem too human for the advertising types, but let’s face it: the human condition (and psyche) are very much the backbone of the industry. It’s very fair to say that a little sensitivity goes a long way.

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