By on July 6, 2013
libertyad
Period advertising can be entertaining. The ads are often graphically interesting and it’s also kind of educational to read the copy. At the least they are historical artifacts, a window into the commercial mind of a different era. For the long Fourth of July holiday weekend we posted a piece on the Liberty Motor Car Company, including the above ad. It was published sometime between 1916 and 1923, when Liberty went out of business. While reading the ad copy, I came across the following phrase:

“How about safety, in these days of women drivers and crowded traffic? Did you ever see an emergency brake applied with a touch of one finger that will stop a car without shock at full speed – surely – smoothly – safely. Try the Liberty emergency – and try it where life might depend on its action.

At first my reaction was “women drivers”? “How quaint and patronizing and sexist”, went through my head, which is rather funny considering that I’ve been called a troglodytic misogynist, being terribly allergic to any form of PC thought. Women have always been in charge, they give the next generation much of their values in every society that ever has been, and ever will be. I am, though, a father of two daughters and a granddaughter and I want them to be able to pursue whatever opportunities their talent and hard work might merit. I personally have nothing against women drivers, I taught my older daughter (and her mother, too) how to drive a stick. Heck, my ex shifts smoother than I do and has a spotless driving record, which I can’t say for myself.

Then I thought, maybe the reference to women drivers was not disparaging but rather appealing to protective impulses. That’s a theme common in a lot of recent commercials, and some not so recent. There’s the Subaru ad with the dad talking to a little girl playing behind the wheel of their car sitting in their driveway who turns into a 16 year old about to drive on her own for the first time.

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Michelin has been using the tagline Because so much is riding on your tires since 1985, when the DDB ad agency created this ad. It’s been called one of the most effective advertising slogans ever and it’s all based on appealing to parents’ protective natures.

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Interestingly, this 1987 version shows the changing roles of women, because it’s the mother, not the father who is buying Michelins so their child will be safe.

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I’ve written about the incessant cliched and misandrist stupid father commercials, so this Chevy truck commercial, with Tim Allen sonorous tagline “the things you carry are even heavier than the things you haul”, also a variation on the “keep my family safe” theme, hits all the right notes for me. It shows a capable, caring and strong but gentle dad dropping his kid off to day care on the way to work.

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That’s why I thought it was silly when this old Goodyear ad was labeled as sexist. It’s just another variation on the same theme. Yes, back then men may have made most tire purchases, but if it was okay for a mother to be concerned about her daughter’s safety in 1987, it was okay for a husband to be concerned about his wife’s safety in 1967. Besides, unlike all those stupid dad commercials, it shows the wife actually accomplishing her task, getting to the airport in difficult traffic conditions, picking her husband up. I think what really bothered the scolds was that when she picked him up, she slid over and let him get behind the wheel, the ad ending with a kiss. I’m guessing that they could reshoot the same commercial today, not changing a thing other than making it a same-sex couple, and the same folks who call the old ad sexist would cheer it.

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People were concerned about their families’ safety in 1917 as well. Perhaps rather than mocking women drivers, maybe the Liberty ad was appealing to them and their husbands. I’m not so sure that it’s putting down women as much as trying to sell the car to women and to husbands of “women drivers”, concerned for their safety in increasingly crowded traffic.

Alice Ramsey changing a tire on her renowned 1909 cross-country drive.

Alice Ramsey changing a tire on her renowned 1909 cross-country drive.

To be honest, I’m not even sure if “woman driver” had become a pejorative by the time the ad was published. Liberty was in business from 1916 to 1923. It was a time of women’s suffrage. Women drivers like Alice Ramsey and Dorothy Levitt (who held land and water speed records and wrote what is probably the only book that gives both fashion advice and instructions on how to rebuild a carburetor) were world-famous years before the Liberty was on sale. By the time the Liberty was being made, Kettering (another one of those “dead white males” whose inventions helped liberate women) had developed the electric starter and women drivers were indeed becoming more common.

Dorothy Levitt at the inaugural Brighton time trials, 1905

Dorothy Levitt at the inaugural Brighton trials, 1905

One of the Liberty’s selling features was ergonomics, the ad mentions how just a “touch” is needed at the controls. Note how the text that I’ve quoted says that with “touch of one finger” on the emergency brake the car can be brought to a complete halt safely (presumably to avoid an accident). Perhaps all that ergonomics and light touch was a selling point to women, implying that a driver didn’t need a man’s physical strength to drive the Liberty.

Dorothy Levitt in a Napier racer at Brooklands in 1908

Dorothy Levitt in a Napier racer at Brooklands in 1908

I’m not naive, and neither was whoever wrote the copy for this ad. Read it. It’s pretty sophisticated copy for an ad from not very long after Alfred Lasker more or less invented modern advertising. It’s possible Liberty was trying to have it both ways. They use the phrase “women drivers” but they don’t actually say anything disparaging. Maybe novelist L.P. Hartley’s famous opening line, “The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there,” applies. Maybe it really was patronizing and sexist, but I’ve seen enough period advertisements from that era that were pitching cars and car accessories to women to think that Liberty was perhaps being true to its name and was as eager to make money off of women drivers as it was from men.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can dig deeper at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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65 Comments on ““Women Drivers” In Period Advertising...”


  • avatar
    CelticPete

    If you have watched Leno drive some of those classic cars you have to be a mechanic of sorts to just get the thing moving. A model T for example is really complicated..

    So its not that they are worried so much about safety – or they are taking a smack at female drivers. It’s neither of those things. It’s about how difficult and complicated other cars were to operate. It was actual WORK to operate plenty of those 1920 cars..

    I think those cars all had manual transmissions – without synchromesh and they had things like a manual choke and a whole lot more stuff the operator had to worry about..

    The women that DID drive probably knew what they were doing – as it likely only attracted the most technically inclined women around back then. I’d hazard a guess that most modern women and men wouldn’t even want to drive those 1920s cars..

    Driving is so easy now – power everything – rear view camera – automatic transmissions that actually work and don’t suck all the horsepower out of your car – rear view camera and seemingly limitless power compared to a 1920 vehicle – great seats/ac/radio.

    Anyway I don’t think the print writer was worried about the safety OR the horrors of female drivers. He was worried about getting women to take the leap to want to drive a very complicated mechanical machine.

    People nowadays treat cars like magic – they know almost nothing about how they work – and they don’t have to. I don’t think you could take that approach back in the 1920s.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      I agree, you had to be a pretty healthy guy to operate a car in that period. Just the steering and clutch operation could take a lot out of you, not to mention the crank starter. You would have to be a pretty robust woman to operate the average car. I don’t think the Liberty ad was sexist as much as it was realistic if not progressive by even mentioning the existence of women drivers

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      Having owned long term a 1930 Indian 101 Scout, and having driven a number of Model T’s, Model A’s and various Twenties GM products (and one Dusenberg J); it’s not so much the strength needed to drive cars of that age, as developing a set of reflexes for actions that haven’t been necessary to drive a motor vehicle since WWII.

      Spark advance? Manual choke? Solenoid operated starting and gear shifting?

      When we’re considering the size of cars of the time (and, with the exception of the Dusenberg, all my vintage driving experience has been on small Buicks and lower priced makes), the big cars were physically more demanding, but a Chevrolet, Ford or Plymouth of the time wasn’t all that difficult in the area of physical demands.

      The hard part is doing manually all those things that the car does automatically for you nowadays. My 1937 Buick Special wasn’t all that different from a 1950′s or low end 1960′s automobile other than the starter being controlled by the accelerator rather than the turn of a key, and the three speed was a floor shift rather than on the column.

      Dropping back to pre-1932/33 however means losing a lot of that ‘simple, low end’ technology we take for granted nowadays. And when you’re dealing with motorcycles, it’s worse. Mechanically, the 101 Scout engine was no different than the 1915 Powerplus. It had a total loss oil system. Just what it says. Oil drips from the tank into the engine where its used up. Or leaks out. And if the level gets too low, you start hand pumping. No, there’s no gauge to tell you when. Indian didn’t do recirculating oil systems until 1934, and Harley didn’t follow until the 1936 EL (Knucklehead).

      In the end, that’s why I sold the Indian: It’s technology was too simple for me to understand and be comfortable with. I can handle a 50′s or 60′s British vertical twin with the same nonchalance any 22 year old squid manages on a Japanese 600 sportbike (you should see the looks on their faces as I go thru the starting ritual on my ’69 Bonneville), but there’s a level of automation that I expect that the Indian didn’t have.

      At least I didn’t have to “listen for the main bearings rattling” to let me know that I had to start the manual oil pump. Yes, that’s the advice I got from a 90 year old, life long Indian owner. I could never get comfortable with the idea that I could go about thirty seconds without oil without blowing the motor. And I eventually got too scared to ride the bike, for fear of damaging it.

      • 0 avatar
        jimbob457

        Count me in, too. I once learned to drive a Model T. The best you could say about it was it was much easier than harnessing a team of horses. Easier even than catching and saddling one horse.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          I’ve driven a Model T as well. The problem is your modern reflexes are all wrong. If you had never driven another car, it would be much easier. The ONLY thing that works the same as a modern car is the actual steering wheel. It’s not hard, but it sure is different!

  • avatar
    sirwired

    Another example of the TTAC Writer’s Persecution Complex.

    This was a informative, insightful, and well-written article, except for the paragraph where you felt compelled to point out how you are unjustly accused of being a woman-hating evil man, and how you really aren’t, because you just love your family So Darn Much, and the women in it are Such Great Drivers.

    (And it could be said that you still Don’t Quite Get It. Given that women have, until recent times, been considered almost property with few independent rights of their own in most societies (and still are in places), it’s kind of silly to state “Women have always been in charge”.)

    You could have deleted everything from “went through my head” through “say for myself” without any loss whatsoever to the whole point of the piece. Sajeev, Derek, and Steve never carry around a chip on their shoulder like this, and their work is the better for it.

    • 0 avatar
      Summicron

      Publish your own article here so we can pick its bones for maximal political consciousness and a correct degree of socialist impersonality.

      For today’s lesson, type Ronnie’s name into the Google search box then hit the space bar. He *has* been persecuted. Cut him some slack if he’s a tad defensive on PC issues.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      sirwired, an author can’t please all of the people all of the time, but until you, yourself, have accomplished as much as Ronnie has accomplished with his articles, you have no room to criticize.

      Those who criticize the way you do have never done battle in the arena because it is easy to criticize the work of others when you have nothing comparative to measure it against.

      By criticizing this article in such a manner you have irreparably damaged your own credibility for any future comments you may wish to make. Readers of ttac always remember the few, the snide, the trolls!

      You may want to change your screen name and make a fresh start.

      • 0 avatar

        It is extremely disheartening to put your work out there, with your own name attached to it, and have to face a nameless peanut gallery willing to crucify you for the most minute mistake on a piece of content that they are able to consume for free.

        I am the first to admit that I make mistakes, and I am glad when commenters catch my errors. One example sticks out in my mind as egregious. When I reviewed the Dodge Dart and complained that its powertrain was inadequate, one commenter was particularly vicious in mocking my impressions – subjective impressions of a vehicle, mind you – and then a few others joined in the dogpile. Those are the occasions when it can get frustrating. I empathize with Ronnie’s sentiments but I would not necessarily write about them in the body of an article either.

    • 0 avatar

      Did I say it was an unjust accusation?

      I guess I could have made a joke about the He-Man Women Haters Club Meetings that I supposedly chair.

    • 0 avatar
      chris724

      The chip is on your shoulder, sirwired.

  • avatar

    Women used to be good drivers back when cars were manual and you had to pay attention to the road and the car. Now I see so many of them texting or looking at their ugly faces – trying to apply makeup – while driving poorly between the lines.

    And then they wonder why I have to blow past them.

    The same can be said of the guys on the road nowadays.

    TEXTERS make me want to kill.

    • 0 avatar
      April

      “Now I see so many of them texting or looking at their ugly faces – trying to apply makeup – while driving poorly between the lines.”

      Don’t forget men driving fast and aggressive/reckless to compensate for their “shortcomings”.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        The only drivers more aggressive are young women (17-25) in starter kit economy cars (Corollas, Kias, Hyundais) going faster then anyone ever thought those cars could go

      • 0 avatar

        Few things are more cliched or trite in the world of cars than saying that men compensate for sexual inadequacies, either performance wise or because they supposedly have small penises, with the cars and trucks they drive and how they drive them. For what “shortcomings” are women who drive aggressively and or recklessly compensating?

        Men can drive aggressively or recklessly, but I’ve never seen a man try to curl his eyelashes while driving in 40 MPH traffic.

        Yesterday I was coming home from a friend’s, and as I approached the major road that I was going to be turning left onto, I noticed a nice white Jaguar XF also pulling up on my left to the traffic light. Both lanes can turn left there and we were both turning up the major road. While waiting for the light to change, I noticed that the XF’s front fascia had a black scrape mark and I thought to myself, “I hope I’d treat a car like that nicely”.

        Once we both made the turn I noticed that she had a phone in her hand and was all over her lane. I tried to pass on the right (multilane road, legal in Michigan) and she almost sideswiped me, coming over the lane divider by a foot or so. I even had to use my horn, which is something that I might do once or twice a year in traffic. Finally I got tired of it, slowed down, merged left and got into the far left lane. As I pulled next to her I could see her, face down, looking at the phone in her hand, digits swiping and touchscreening away. At the red light we stopped at, I beeped the horn, gave her a palms up, “WTF?” and mouthed, “stop texting”. She rolled her eyes and gave me a dismissive look.

        No, she didn’t look ugly. She actually had a pretty face. It was her behavior that was ugly.

        It would be interesting to see if men and women have different rates of texting behind the wheel. In general I observe women holding their phones in their hands continuously more than men, like it’s a talisman or something. Guys take their phones out of their pocket, check it, answer it or not, and put it back. Women seem to walk around with both hands on their phones, ready to text in landscape mode.

        • 0 avatar
          chris724

          I think careless and reckless driving is basically a gender neutral thing. Smart phones are the most dangerous development in a long time, for driving safety.

          • 0 avatar
            kjb911

            I try to be a safe driver but every now and then I witness myself grabbing my phone but for the most part it stays on the passenger seat or cupholder…the most infuriating thing I have found is my Focus’ sync system since my HTC is compatible with the who text read business. Mind you I don’t have MFT just the sync with that small screen that you have to navigate through various fields in order to choose a track on a usb (I put it on shuffle and just keep hitting next if I don’t like the song). Back to the point, whenever my phone receives a text it interrupts the music saying I have a new message for which I then hit ok. It then prompt’s reply to message but upon hitting okay it blocks saying for your safety the function is blocked while driving…So I can spend aimless time searching for an artist on my 32gb usb but selecting for 10 premade responses is more dangerous.
            Ironically the microphone is so bad on the 2012 I’ve had to have it replaced in order to increase the call quality with my dealer even acknowledged the placement of the mic was a bad idea which made me then use my phone instead of “hands-free”…the smartphone may have been the most dangerous development in a long time but OEM connectivity/communications systems don’t tread far behind

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            I find the Ford Sync system almost as cumbersome and counter-productive as Windows 8

          • 0 avatar
            Lorenzo

            You’re right about the gender neutrality of bad driving, especially the 16-25 age group. A CHP officer told me guys in that group tend to be in the middle of the accidents they cause, while the girls cause others to have accidents taking evasive action due to the girls’ sudden, thoughtless moves.

            That’s one of the reasons for girls’ statistically clean records, the other being men giving a girl a break in a fender bender, but chewing out the boy (and I’ve probably just joined the AMA – American Misogynist Association – with that comment). The bottom line is there’s no substitute for experience behind the wheel, any gender, any age.

      • 0 avatar

        April

        Encyclopedia Dramatica taught me than “Bronies” are the absolute worst type of people – even worse than furries.

    • 0 avatar
      kvndoom

      TWD (texting while driving) is now a ticketable offense in Virginia. I’ll be interested to see if it makes a difference.

      My oldest stepdaughter was inches away from a Darwin Award a couple years back. Running late for work, flying down I-64 at 90MPH, trying to text her boss, 2 wheels went off the road. In a not-so-aerodynamic Kia Sedona, no less. She would have rolled that van for sure if she had overcorrected. I don’t really know if all the hell we gave her did any good; I guess time will tell.

      The issue is people arrogantly believing “it can’t happen to me” and consequences be damned.

      • 0 avatar
        kjb911

        its illegal here in RI as well and I think the law has caused more accidents as now more people try to get around the law and hide the phone under point of view from cops and look down at their legs

  • avatar
    Whoa Befalls Electra

    “I’m guessing that they could reshoot the same commercial today, not changing a thing other than making it a same-sex couple, and the same folks who call the old ad sexist would cheer it.”

    And I’m guessing that there are folks who, if they saw such a commercial, would shake their head from side to side while muttering a few choice words, before changing the channel.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    Let’s see: “In these days of woman drivers and crowded traffic”…Clearly the intent of the ad is to list a few of the hazards that a driver might face, and why the Liberty would be a good choice to protect the driver from them. No amount of trying to undo the obvious is going to help this case. Same for the Goodyear ad. It is sexist. All that said, what is the big deal? At the times these ads were released, this Neanderthal way of thinking was the norm. Nobody should try to make excuses for it or apologize for it. That was the way it was. Time has now moved on and there is no room for ads like that anymore.

    Michelin ad: I always hated those stupid kids in those ads because when they aired I was in no way a “family guy”, I like to drive I always thought that Goodyear could use that ad to it’s advantage…you know asking the viewer if babies where what they thought about when buying tires, then cutting to a race track, showing high speed driving, burnouts, hard cornering, etc. Then ending the ad with a Goodyear Eagle sliding toward the camera, coming to a stop with the camera lens focused on the words “Goodyear” and ending the ad with the words “we didn’t think so”.

  • avatar
    Tim_Turbo

    Not the best headline ever, but close……

    • 0 avatar

      Credit Bertel for the headline. I just asked him to add the quotation marks. I don’t think the double entendre about period advertising was intentional, you’ll have to ask him. Ironically, when I was doing a quick search on the history of advertising for Albert Lasker’s name, one example of early ad copy I came across did happen to be for Kotex, one of the early invented brand names (I’m guessing imitating Eastman’s Kodak brand – people remembers K and X sounds). One advantage that brand had was that women could ask for the brand and not the more indelicate “sanitary napkins” or “tampons”.

      http://www.mum.org/kotdispl.jpg

  • avatar
    AJ

    When it comes down to who is a better driver, sure guys take more risks as I have and still do, however in looking at my wife, she has no interest in driving and a lot less experience and time doing so, which is how I can point to that she’s had four wrecks and I have had none. My wife only drives to get from point A to point B and looks at a vehicle at how good she’ll look in it…

    I do want her in a safer vehicle then what I’ll find acceptable for myself. Safety for her does matter and we both pay more attention to cars and features that advertise such. Advertising back then could just be more “to the point” then what we’d find acceptable today.

  • avatar
    April

    Eh, advertisers went from insulting (women are weak and scatterbrained) to merely patronizing.

    I supposed this is progress.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      Nowadays the standard ad is the intelligent woman having to deal with her ungodly dumb spouse/significant other. OK, we’ve biased the playing field the other way for about forty years now. Are we even yet?

      I’d really like to see ads where both sexes are equally smart or stupid. Or switched back between the two poles about equally.

    • 0 avatar
      jimbob457

      Since women make the buy decision on more than half of all new car purchases, according to your observation, advertisers patronizing women must be collectively suicidal.

  • avatar
    Summicron

    Meh… woman, man or duck-billed alien, anyone driving another motor vehicle is a threat to me and I plan accordingly.

    And of course advertising gets more sexist the further back in time you look. There was no penalty for it. Now there are very real penalties for perceived discrimination so every ad including car ads is a veritable Noah’s Ark of all available genders, skin tones, facial features, disability types and ages.

    That just makes holders of entrenched cultural, nay, universal prejudices become craftier. Everybody hates everybody else to one degree or another and that’s why we form tribes with those we hate least. I’d prefer it be out in the open but instead we have to play make-believe. Stupid, expensive, and dangerously delusional to the helpless young who are brainwashed to believe the shite.

    And then the young go backpacking somewhere outside the American cocoon and end up on the news.

  • avatar
    Summicron

    Women, men or duck-billed aliens, everyone else on the road is a threat to me and they’re only increasing in number, size, horsepower and age.

  • avatar
    Jeff Weimer

    Regarding that 1967 tire commercial:

    As a man, if I had to go through all that to pick my wife up at the airport, I’d slide over and make her drive, too.

  • avatar
    Mikein08

    Bad headline.

  • avatar
    BerlinDave

    Have you ever seen a women drive???

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      I’ve seen MY woman drive and I have to allow for the fact that she was an Ace mudder for much of her younger years and also the driver of my dad’s rail at Riverside Raceway on four occasions. She won all four times because she was the lightest driver there.

      She may be an 67-year old biddy now, but she still drives that 2012 Grand Cherokee pretty damn good at speeds well over the speed limit.

  • avatar
    billfrombuckhead

    Has TTAC ever had a woman pundit? BTW, who’s the highest ranking woman in the Japanese or German car industry?

    • 0 avatar

      Bill,

      Yes, TTAC has had female contributors. Cammy Corrigan used to post here and still comments occasionally.

      It’s hard finding woman car writers, I’ve asked a number of women to contribute to Cars In Depth since I think it’s important to appeal to and hear from half of humanity on the topic of cars.

      I’m not sure, though, that women and men look for the same things from consumer and enthusiast publications. I’m not sure that the skeptical ethos of TTAC would be popular with a majority of women. It’s possible that women say that they want reliable reviews but get turned off by publications that are too negative about things they like.

      A nice lady that I’ve gotten to know over the past year from seeing her at press events around Detroit is trying to transition from marketing to journalism and writing. She writes car reviews for a web site that is aimed at women and she told me that the editorial policy there is that all reviews have to be positive or neutral.

      I understand that’s the policy at a lot of “consumer” sites aimed at women, like with cosmetics. The unstated rule is that you never publish a negative review of a product. Apparently, it’s not just the companies providing the products for review and potential advertisers don’t like to see negative reviews, my friend told me that the publishers believe that their readers don’t like negative reviews either.

      As for Germany and Japan, when I worked for DuPont, I always thought it was interesting how PC we were from a Human Relations standpoint, so much so that DuPont Refinish killed the highly-popular-with-bodyshops DuPont Refinish Calenders (no nudity, bathing suits) but we more or less accommodated the biases of our Japanese customers and JV partners.

      • 0 avatar
        April

        How is it “PC” to be respectful of women? There are plenty of women working in the automotive repair industry now and they should not need to put up with such sexist nonsense.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          There are 12,000 female automobile service and repair technicians out of a field of 837,000 in the US. Not bad when you consider prior to 1972 a woman couldn’t even take college level courses in auto tech

        • 0 avatar

          I think that a smart woman working in the automotive repair industry would consider what is more profitable to her employer, her sense of offense at seeing a calender with a pretty lady in a modest-by-modern-standards bikini, or selling millions of dollars worth of refinish paint to body shops staffed mostly by men, many of whom enjoyed the calenders. When they killed the DuPont Refinish Calenders, there was a measurable drop in sales. Meanwhile, the Pirelli calenders, which were always far more sexual than anything DuPont put out, continue to help sell tires. Are there not women in the tire business in Europe?

          When a major corporation disciplines a female employee for reading Cosmopolitian magazine, 50 Shades of Grey, or The Frisky web site at her desk, I’ll believe that this is really about respect and not about enforcing PC double standards. If men enjoy it, it’s pornographic and disrespectful of women, if women enjoy it, it’s just a book, a website or a magazine.

          I guess the double standards bother me more than the supposedly offensive content. It’s not what is done or said that counts, it matters who is saying it or doing it and whose side they are perceived to be on.

          • 0 avatar
            April

            Yes, I’m sure repair shops quit buying Imron or Centari just because the cheesecake calendars went bye bye. Maybe it was due to better product from the competition.

            Last time I checked watching porn on workplace computers is prohibited for EVERYONE (men and women).

            And Cosmo is the equivalent to Hustler magazine? I didn’t know that.

            BTW, there is much better erotica than 50 Shades.

          • 0 avatar

            I didn’t say that collision shops “quit buying” DuPont products. No need to be hyperbolic. As I said, there was a measurable drop in sales when they discontinued the DuPont Refinish calenders. Sales eventually rebounded. DuPont sold good paint so customers that might have been upset came around.

            Centari’s just another acrylic paint but I worked in refinish quality and spent a lot of time testing competitive products for chemical resistance, yellowing/bleaching in the sun from UV, etc. While other company’s polyurethane enamels might have outperformed Imron in an odd test here or there, Imron had the best overall performance. Great stuff. Any PolyU paint is going to be durable, but DuPont got the chemistry right with Imron and it really was a superior product when I was working with it. Things may have changed in the past decade or so.

            Yes, Cosmo is the equivalent of if not Hustler, certainly Playboy. Again, like with “quit buying” you make an extreme comparison when there’s no need to do so. Cosmo is filled with sexual content. That’s undeniable. Additionally, women’s fashion mags like Vogue have more skin in the ads up in the front of the book than some issues of Maxim.

            You just don’t see “erotica” or other stuff women like to read for titillation as porn. My point is that females’ functional equivalents to how men use porn, romance novels, Cosmo, websites like The Frisky, even Redbook magazine with their sex article headlined just below the magazine title almost every month, all that is women’s porn. But since what women do these days is considered normal and men are at best considered defective women, you can read Cosmo at your desk and 50 Shades on the subway and you’d be ignored.

    • 0 avatar
      Summicron

      “who’s the highest ranking woman in the Japanese or German car industry?”

      Empress Michiko and Angela Merkel?

      They can probably tell the boys what to do.

      So, do I win that Liberty or what? It’s got my kind of sightlines and ground clearance.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      Susanne Klatten of BMW is one of the highest ranking women in the German Auto industry – if not all of the auto industry. She’s worth over 14 billion and ranks about 44th on the list of wealthiest individuals. She’s on the BMW supervisory board and owns about 12.5% of the company. There are other women on the supervisory board, but she has much more power.

      • 0 avatar
        alexndr333

        Ms. Klatten is not exactly a fair example of women in the auto industry. She is inarguably a very bright person, with good values. But she also inherited 50% of a German pharmaceutical company and is of the Quandt family (owners of BMW), inheriting 12.5% of BMW stock. She sits on the BMW Supervisory Board which is equivalent to the Board of Directors of an American corporation. Again, not a typical example. Where are the women in Germany and Japan who’ve worked their way into top management from the ranks?

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          The question was “who was the highest ranking woman” – that is Susanne Klatten.

          • 0 avatar
            alexndr333

            That’s like saying President Obama is the highest ranking African-American in the military. Technically true, but like Ms. Klatten, he didn’t get to the top through the ranks. I again ask, Where are the women in the Japanese and German car companies?

          • 0 avatar
            Summicron

            That was pretty brilliant.

    • 0 avatar

      We had Boothbabe for a while … until she was driven off by very ungentlemanly comments.

  • avatar
    chris724

    As a father of three little girls, that Subaru ad made an impact on me too. The oldest turns 13 next week, so I still have a few years ’til she’s driving. My beloved wife would be the first to admit that she can’t drive as well as me. The dings on the back of the T&C will attest as well. She even sideswiped my mom’s new Highlander while backing out. But driving forwards, she’s very safe, and she’s been my DD many times. I offered to teach her stick way back in the 90s, and she said “no way”. So my ’02 Audi is an automatic, and as I get older, I don’t mind at all.

  • avatar
    skor

    You think old timey auto ads were sexist? You have no idea.

    “Ladies, are you wondering why your husbands have lost interest? Yes, that’s right. That fish smell isn’t last night’s flounder dinner.”

    http://alwayssick.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/lysol-douche-ad1.png

  • avatar
    Darth Lefty

    Cars were already marketed to women at the time too, in opposition to bicycles. In a car a lady in her dress and makeup could stay fresh, clean, and relaxed while her counterpart on a bike was mannish, sweaty, wearing trousers, an old maid without a man to support her, possibly a lesbian, possibly enjoying the ride too much wink wink. Just think of Elmyra Gulch in The Wizard of Oz if you need an archetype.


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