The Closeness of the Past
I won't answer this riddle till the end of the article. As the years tick by, women's skirts get shorter and their heels grow taller. In fact, some researchers have correlated that, over the years, the more "rights" women won, the scantier clothed they became. Of course, this has a lot to do with clothing trends, right? But, wait a second... where do clothing trends come from? Society. And, what does society want? Who is the predominant voice? What do women cater their fashion towards in the media? Right. You might begin to wonder: who is really winning here?
Back in the day, during World War II, as men departed from the homes to fight, women took their places in the industrial work world. This was encouraged with signs of strong women fighting at home while their men were fighting away. Many see this as quite empowering for women-- a step in the right direction. And yet, doesn't it seem as though women moved from one prison (self-employed cleaning ladies, in the chains of their vacuums) to another prison just as real (the factories, etc)? Did women really win any more freedom? Or, were they just placed from one restricted area into another, always controlled?
Today, women have worked their way into CEO positions, high ranking political positions, lawyers, etc. Women have come a long way. Though western women still suffer from inequality and demeaning associations, it might help to review women's past. Not only can we see then how far women have advanced, but also realize how much more room we have to still grow. We can realize how many stereotypes and treatments today are really just ghosts of another era, in which women were no more than materials to be owned. Our mothers, our grandmothers, our great grandmothers? Look into the world they knew through the everyday advertisements seen around the 1950's: A Man's World.
Recognize the brands?
|Hoover Vacuums (available at Sears):|
"Christmas morning she'll be happier with a Hoover"
"When you're out of Schlitz, you're out of beer"...
So, "Don't worry darling, you didn't burn the beer!" As she weeps.
Golden Peacock Bleach Creme, "only last week muddy skin made her homely." So, let's bleach it and "Now men adore her milky-white skin!"
"When tempted to over-indulge, reach for a Lucky instead!" (Lucky Strikes) And, if that doesn't work? Try "Sanitized tape worms!"....
Van Heusen (available at Kohls, and many other stores):
"Show her it's a man's world"
Van Heusen Shirts, again:
It's the Bolder Look in Shirts"
Tipalet? Need a light? "Blow in her face and she'll follow you anywhere."
"You mean a woman can open it?"
"Gosh, honey, you seem to thrive on cooking, cleaning and dusting and I'm all tuckered out by closing time. What's the answer?"
Deodorant, Amolin with Norwich:
"3) Amolin protects delicate lingerie and keeps elastic girdles fresh."
"Not, 'is she clever?'"
"The brightest jewel of all can be your lips"
Interesting how phallic a lipstick tube can become.
Chase & Sanborn Coffee:
If a woman brings stale coffee home.
"Frees the little woman... The whole family will thank you, too ... because Mother will have more time to spend with the children."
And, from what the advertisement implies, three times a day is a euphemism for a 'happy ending' three times a day. If we only realized that something as unromantic as a garbage disposal could bring about such romance!
Maidenform, the store so many women run to when Victoria's Secret is too expensive:
"Shapes and forms your figure naturally."
Little did any of us know, breasts usually look like Madonna's metal bra.
"O-o-oh Santa, I just love that Microsheen shine!...
Miss Microsheen, and every other slick chick, recognize quietly when they see it."
This is an advertisement for stain boot polish.
no longer to cure women's pains but for men's emotional stress once a month.
"It's nice to have a girl around the house."
"The real problem, as you very well know, is how to keep the most girl part of you fresh and free of any worry-making odors. It's just essential to your cleanliness and your peace of mind about being a girl. An attractive, nice-to-be-with-girl."
"After a tough evening with the Beethoven crowd, she loves to relax and listen to her folk-rock records. Preferably, on your stereo. Well? Should you offer? After all, if she likes the offer, she might start to play. No strings attached."
"WIVES: Look this ad over carefully. Circle the items you want for Christmas. Show it to your husband. If he does not go to the store immediately, cry a little. Not a lot. Just a little. He'll go, he'll go...
HUSBANDS: Look this ad over carefully. Pick out what your wife wants. Go buy it. Before she starts to cry."
Back to the riddle as promised. Who on earth was that doctor? Who could that have been? The father is dead... so, could it have been maybe a gay father? The doctor came back to life? Maybe the father in the accident wasn't the boy's real father because he was adopted?
The guesses go on and on.
The answer, however, is quite simple:
I've told that riddle countless of times. Do you want to know how many people have been able to answer it?
Women in the World and Relationships Section, Sasha Martin:
I made my own major, concerning emotions explored through literature, art, cognitive science and psychology, and am minoring in creative writing at UC Berkeley. My passions are writing and the arts in general. I created Unleashed for the empowerment and enlightenment of women everywhere. I am the editor, designer and a contributing writer, and happen to be extremely proud of the staff Unleashed has developed. I truly hope this magazine speaks to each and every woman.