I Bet You Think I’ll Hate This

But I actually quite like this vintage Scandale lingerie advertisement with artwork by Edmond Kiraz.

Impossibly long legs don’t bother me — when they are part of fashion illustration. As Slip of a Girl writes, “Illustrated ads do not run the risk of starting or perpetuating body dysmorphia or forms of self-hating body loathing because we know they are illustrations — no one looks like that. But we can pretend to…”

The female depicted as feline, while cliche, isn’t a real bother either; women have relationships with cats, like it or not.

But perhaps the best thing about this vintage ad is what I learned: Kiraz made dolls. Fashion dolls based on the artist’s Les Parisiennes series, to be precise. What Kiraz himself calls the “effigies of his work made by Birgé-Jopo”.

Often called Poupee de Kiraz or Les Parisiennes dolls by Kiraz, these 15 inch tall French fashion dolls seem to have only been made for one year, in 1967. That makes these little gems difficult to find. And playing hard-to-get does so turn me on as a collector. I am now on the look-out for these vintage vinyl fashion dolls from France. The ones with the round faces, cat’s eyes, and impossibly long and slim legs. So period. So fascinating.

All images via GGSDolls.

The Political Shades Of A Colorpillar

When I grabbed this Romper Room Colorpillar toy, I had vague memories of the Romper Room TV show…

But not enough, apparently. A quick look at the Wiki entry and it turns out this toy is most fitting for this political season.

First, there’s the whole problem with children’s television shows and hosts pitching product during shows. Romper Room was the first target of the newly formed watchdog group Action for Children’s Television who leveraged the power of an threat FCC threat into ceasing “host-selling”.

Then there’s the whole Romper Room abortion scandal.

In 1962, the hostess of the Phoenix franchise of Romper Room linked her own name with that of the ongoing controversies over abortion. Sherri Finkbine, known to television viewers as “Miss Sherri”, sought hospital approval for abortion on the ground that she had been taking thalidomide and believed her child would be born deformed. Finkbine made a public announcement about the dangers of thalidomide, and the hospital refused to allow an abortion, apparently because of her announcement and its own fear of publicity. Finkbine traveled to Sweden for the abortion. Upon completion, it was confirmed that the fetus had no legs and only one arm. The incident became a made-for-TV movie in 1992, A Private Matter, with Sissy Spacek as Finkbine.

I guess this really is an educational toy — if you research it, rather than play with it.

In terms of memories of the show, as I said, they are fuzzy. Not all warm and fuzzy; just not clear. Also according to Wiki:

The hostess would also serve milk and cookies to the children, with prayer offered before eating. The famous Romper Room prayer went “God is great, God is good. Let us thank him for our food. Amen.”

Now that’s the prayer I remember saying. But that’s really odd, because our home was not a praying home. Perhaps this praying business is why I don’t recall much of the show… Perhaps when my folks found out prayer and indoctrination was part of the program, they switched the set off. That is something I will have to ask them.

Vintage Political Trick Or Treat

The Mondale-Ferraro campaign used the Halloween “Trick Or Treat” theme to get some votes in the bag:

Trick:

For those with under
$10,000 a year,
23 Billion LESS!

or

Treat:

For those with over
$80,000 a year,
35 Billion MORE!

(These are the Congressional
Budget Office projections
for the years ’83, ’84, ’85)

If these figures SPOOK you

Vote Mondale-Ferraro for America

Scarlet Letters (Part Two)

This commercial always makes me laugh; but given the issues for women this year (see Scarlet Letters Part One), I have to wonder how it plays & pays for Miracle Whip. Do they know how loaded it is, the taste Miracle Whip may now leave in mouths? While you’re getting out the vote, being adamant and so on, go buy a few jars and send the message that, like Miracle Whip, women are “not odd.”

And don’t forget your own scarlet letter!

A Pen Is

Resisting all jokes and puns about what a pen is, euphemisms for swords, and even the pragmatic discussion of women’s rights to wield the power of writing implements, I bring you the folly of the BIC For Her Amber Medium Ballpoint Pen. There’s little I can say, really… This pen, “A gel pen essentially for women!” is only sold in Europe and the fine folks there have responded accordingly, filing the following reviews (and more) in retaliation for a poorly thought of product designed “for women.” Enjoy. And take heart that there are sane people.

I never knew I needed this so much, 16 Aug 2012
By Butch McCassidy

Oh. My. God. I’ve been doing it all wrong. There was me thinking I didn’t need to worry about whether my writing implement sufficiently reflected my gender. Thank you so much Bic for showing me the error of my ways. Perhaps Bic will also bring out a new range of pink (or purple) feminine spanners, screwdrivers, electric drills and angle grinders so that I can carry out my job as a bicycle mechanic without further embarrassing myself? Luckily my male colleagues have managed to keep their disapproval of my use of their masculine tools to themselves. I’m so ashamed. And re-educated as to my place in society. Thanks again Bic!

At Amazon, the above review, “The most helpful favourable review,” is pitted against this next one, “The most helpful critical review.”

No good for man hands
I bought this pen (in error, evidently) to write my reports of each day’s tree felling activities in my job as a lumberjack. It is no good. It slips from between my calloused, gnarly fingers like a gossamer thread gently descending to earth between two giant redwood trunks.
Published 6 days ago by daveyclayton

But there plenty more; this one may be my favorite, simply for the title:

Such a useful little tool (and that’s not just a description of the man in charge of the marketing campaign), 21 Aug 2012
By zak jane keir “decadent media” (UK)

How could I have missed my own deep inner need for such a product? It’s just perfect for ramming straight up the hogs’ eye of any sexist man I happen to be oppressed by – no more tabasco-dipped nasty old medical catheters for the misogynists in my life!

But perhaps this one is most sarcastic:

Send from Heaven by the Angels, 20 Aug 2012
By Siobhán

I could never write until now because I’m such a thick little Princess that I refused to. I just drew pictures of my pink little bike, with the lilac streamers. I thought I’d just grow up and let a big manly man come and marry/save me.
Now I’ve found this pen, I’ve learned to write. It’s so pretty, with it’s comfortable grip, not like the razor like surface on ordinary mens pens. It will help me list all my household chores and record my calorie consumption in my diary. Who knows? Maybe it will give me the confidence to take the stabilisers off my bike.

Or maybe it’s this one…

This product cured my girly dyslexia., 21 Aug 2012
By I am a private person, not a real name!

Before I bought this product I couldn’t write but now I’m an engineer. Mind you, I only design pink, flowery bridges, motorways and sewers. Blue ones would be wrong wouldn’t they.

Lane Bryant Needs Tips On How To Be A Gold Digger

So, on the 13th of this month, Lane Bryant sent me an email saying they “missed me.” They don’t know me personally; they just missed my money as I hadn’t shopped there in awhile.

In the email, there was a 40% off coupon. It was just 40% off one regular priced item, but I had received a gift card for my birthday, so I wanted to print the coupon out to take it to the store with me. No newbie to how this stuff goes, I went to use “print preview” to make sure the barcode part of the email would actually be printed. The print preview did as I feared, only showing the model and not the barcode. So I clicked to “view the email online” — and that’s when the proverbial shit hit the fan.

The page on the Lane Bryant site was without an image. All I got was the website header and footer — just a big hunk of whitespace in the middle. So I went back to the email.

Guess what?

The image had disappeared.

Perhaps the gremlins which run the interwebs believed that use of print preview meant I had printed it — and only one coupon is allowed. But I hadn’t printed. So now what?

Since this was a coupon from a national chain that I was going to have to use at my local Lane Bryant store, I called them. I figured that as I’d be using the coupon there, they’d be familiar with the process and maybe even have a spare or blank coupon for such things. No, they did not. Instead, they gave me a customer service number. Only that customer service number is for Lane Bryant card holders, which meant that not only was it difficult to get past the voicemail prompts, but when I finally did reach a person, she couldn’t do anything to help me. I doubt very much that even had I been a Lane Bryant credit card holder that she could have helped me as her understanding of how email lists etc. work was very limited.

“Just sign up for the newsletter again,” she said.

“I don’t think you understand,” I began patiently. “You see, the email was about ‘missing me’, so I would need — along with a new email address to join under — to shop at the store and then not shop at the store for six months in order to be ‘missed.”

She put me on hold.

When she came back, she suggested I call my local store. To which I replied that I’d already done that; that’s how I got the number I called to reach her.

Pause.

“Well, all I can suggest is to get a new email address to sign up for the newsletter with.”

Umm, didn’t we already cover that?

Was there another number for customer service — one not related to credit cards? Would a supervisor be able to help? Was there any other Lane Bryant number to call at all?

No. No. No. (Though it turns out there is another Lane Bryant customer service number; sadly no one gave me that number or even seemed to know it.)

So, Lane Bryant, thanks so much for missing me and creating a marketing disaster.

Instead of making me happy, making me feel treated to something special (even though we all know it’s just about you getting your hand in my pocket and getting my money), you peeved me off. For all the efforts of your team of marketers who want to build relationships with me, you forgot some basic rules. Rules gold diggers know:

1. Be accessible. Yeah, “not to available” might lend an air or mystery; but no means of contact — or having so many hurdles to contact, just means the man with money grabs another honey.

2. Smile nice when reaching into my pocket. Lean in and make me want you to put your hand there… Lift the bills out and take them. Don’t stand so far away, don’t place your other hand over the wallet so that the whole deal is a struggle.

3. Know what you are doing. That includes any of your cohorts (aka employees). Don’t make the mark have to do so much work. Unless our relationship is based on some S&M kink, I shouldn’t be frustrated and sweaty just trying to give you my money.

4. When all is said and done, I should be left with an empty wallet and a smile, dreamily looking forward to next time.

If it weren’t for the fact that I have a gift card, and a rare window of time to shop, it would be a lot longer for you to see me again.

Female Olympic Athletes Still Have “Beauty” To Hurdle

Today, in honor of the Olympics, in honor of the strong, skilled, and powerful US female gymnastic team, Proctor & Gamble’s official beauty Twitter account tweeted:

What’s your favorite part of the “gymnast look”? The slicked-back bun, beautiful bold lips or shimmering skin? #PGOlympics #PGBeauty

In return I tweeted:

@PGBeauty Really? Beauty looks based on female gymnasts? Are you going to do this sort of thing to male athletes?

No one responded. Not P&G; not any of my tweoples.

I guess I should just be glad I wasn’t banned from Twitter for knocking a paying advertiser. But in actuality I’m peeved that no one else seems upset by this… There were 13 retweets, 11 favs, and one comment — not mine (mine is conspicuously absent).

So000 disappointing.

In Older Athletes Earning Gold For Endurance In The Olympics, Patricia Nell Warren writes:

Fortunately for Olympic athletes, they don’t have to rely on their looks to get to the podium, or even get to the Games. However gorgeous their displayed bodies might grow because of intensive conditioning — if they are swimmers or gymnasts or runners — it’s what they can DO with those bodies that counts.

Then there are those, like the fencers and archers and equestrians, who may or may not have a pretty face or gorgeous bods, but who deliver the goods while buttoned up to the chin in traditional gear, even gloves and helmets or top hats, with only their faces visible.

While Warren’s article was about what the LGBT community might learn from events such as the Olympics, it’s clear that “we heteros” have a long way to go ourselves. Some of us are forgetting to honor and admire the dedication, skill, and prowess of our female athletes when there’s beauty standards and products to sell.

Ain’t that a kick in the groin.

For Sexists Sans Secretaries

For men who, unlike the Mad Men, didn’t have their own private secretaries to humiliate and fondle, there was Ellen the Eye Opener:

Yes, sir! When there’s a job to be done, a service to perform, or a need to be met, we’re ready for action. And when it’s time for a smile, we like to erase those frown lines with something on the light side, for all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

So… meet Ellen, the Eye Opener, a girl who’ll appeal to your “mail” instincts… as she opens your mail, let her serve to remind you of us. Treat her nice… she’s a swell gal.

From the seller’s description:

[A] Gil Elvgren designed plastic letter opener entitled “Here’s an Eye Opener” produced by Brown & Bigelow between 1958-1960, including the original sleeve on card stock. This fun 3D letter opener, with a flat back,is done in “accurate” curvy detail, and is in very fine condition, as pictured, and measures 8.5″ x 2.5″ at it’s widest point. The folding sleeve which creatively ‘undresses’ Ellen our pin-up model measures 8.5″ x 7.25 opened, is in excellent shape with no tears or visible toning.

The medallion she is holding above her head would have had the name of an individual business – in this case from “Mannequin Service Company – Saint Paul MN” – used as customer giveaways.

All images via Grapefruit Moon Gallery.

Sex Sells… Swans

A recent study may have found an increase in ads using sex to sell, but using sex to sell has been around a long long time. Perhaps the study didn’t go back far enough? The study looked at 30 years of magazines, but this promotion for Pliofilm, featuring a sexy nude woman behind the see-through Pliofilm shower curtain decorated with swans and flowers, was published in the 1930s. Which begs the question… Who the hell was this targeting — men or women?

Ye Olde Comfort Hip Corset Truly Chaffes

An antique advertising or trade card for the “Comfort Hip” corset by Helm, Snorf & Watson of North Manchester, Indiana.

I’m not sure if we’re supposed to sing it… But this is how the sales “poetry” reads:

How dear to my heart is the “Comfort Hip” Corset,
A well moulded figure ’twas made to adorn,
I’m sure, as an elegant, close fitting corset,
It lays over all make I ever have worn.
Oh, my! with delight it is driving me crazy,
The feelings that thrill me no language can tell;
Just look at its shape, — oh, ain’t it a daisy!
The “Comfort Hip” corset that fits me so well.
The close fitting corset — the “Lock Claso” corset–
The “Comfort Hip” corset that fits me so well.

It clings to my waist to tightly and neatly,
Its fair rounded shape shows no wrinkle or fold;
It fits this plump figure of mine as completely
As if I’d been melted and poured in its mould.
How fertile the mind that was moved to design it,
Such a comfort pervades each depression and swell,
The waist would entice a strong arm to entwine it,–
The waist of this corset that fits me so well.
The close fitting corset,–the “Lock Clasp” corset–
The “comfort Hip” corset that fits me so well.

Of course I will wear it to parties and dances,
And gentlemen there will my figure admire!
The ladies will throw me envious glances,
And that’s just the state of affairs I desire;
For feminine envy and male admiration
Proclaim that their object’s considered a belle.
Oh, thou art of beauty — the fair consummation —
My “Comfort Hip” corset that fits me so well.
The Five-Hook corset — the “Lock Clasp” corset–
The “Comfort Hip” corset that fits me so well.

If this is to be sung, the reason I cannot sing along isn’t because I don’t know the melody; the phrase about desiring “feminine envy and male admiration” coupled with referring to one’s self as an object makes me gag.

Filter, Flavor, Color Too With Glamorous Vanity Fair Cigarettes

Ahh, the great marketing movement of making things pink to sell them to women… This time, ladies, turn in your pink lungs for pink smokes.

Also available in pastel blue, for that oxygen deprived look.

According to Behind The Smoke on Flickr, the Vanity Fair cigarettes were only around for five years, at which point they were replaced by the Vogue Color cigarettes, which contained an assortment of five colors.

Beauty After The Atomic Bomb?

Advertising based on fears — especially the female fears of beauty, “catching” and “keeping” a man — are nothing new. This vintage print ad for Dorothy Gray captures those horrors.

However, this vintage TV commercial for a pre-cold war cold cream preys on more than beauty fears. Circa the 1950s, this commercial for Dorothy Gray Cosmetics boasts how the cleanser removes two and a 1/2 times the radiation of other cleansers. No word on how much radiation is left behind or even it it’s enough to kill you…

Pro-Nun-ciation

In Look for the Detail!, Beryl Kenyon de Pascual tells the story of this pair of vintage bookmarks:

The fourth example is also from the late nineteenth century. The cosmetic firm of Cherry Blossom—not to be confused with the company that makes shoe polish—produced a bookmark featuring a nun on one side and a biennial calendar on the reverse. The earliest examples were printed in black and white and include the phrase ‘none nicer’, as in the reproduction of my 1889/1890 bookmark. I found the relevance of the nun puzzling in the context until I acquired a chromolithographic issue from 1897-1898. The latter is more decorative and does not have the die-cut page clip found in the black and white series. The nun was nevertheless retained as the central feature. The phrase ‘none nicer’, however, was amended to ‘nun nicer’. The light dawned on me. In some regions ‘none’ is pronounced the same way as ‘nun’. Since I pronounce the two words differently the play on words had passed me by. Possibly other people were puzzled at that time and this may account for the change in the spelling of the phrase to a form that highlights the pun and explains the apparent incongruity of the nun.

I had to read this twice in order to comprehend that there’s another way to pronounce “none” — a way that doesn’t sound like “nun.”  Beryl Kenyon de Pascual was born in England — and she worked as an international linguist, so I’m terribly surprised. But even more curious to hear how she and others pronounce “none.” Please do share!

What Every Young Girl Should Know

Boys like girls who make Seven-Up “Floats”

What every young girl should know is this: Nobody can resist a 7-Up “Float”! Want to see? Put a scoop of his favorite ice cream of sherbet in a tall glass. Tilt the glass, and pour chilled, sparking 7-Up gently down the side. The fresh, clean taste of 7-Up works a special magic with ice cream. And don’t forget a 7-Up “Float” for yourself! P.S. Boys like 7-Up — girls like 7-Up — for regular thirst-quenching, too. Take home a case of 7-Up so you’ll have plenty on hand. You like…it likes you!

Hey, look, it may be sexist, but it also tells girls how to avoid giving boys head — on their 7-Up “Floats” (forever in quotes) and later, their beers.

Copyright 1960 by the Seven-Up Company; via.

Whatjamacallit Wednesday: How Do You Get Kitten Hips? And Why Would You Want Them?

Kitten hips. No, not the furry kind — the “lithe young American” kind, as described in this vintage girdle ad published in Harper’s Bazaar, 1946.

You feel and look as if you’d just stepped out of a success course when you step into Carter’s “Mouldette.” The entire beautifully molded back is made with new synthetic elastic. Carter’s own Sweetheart panel flattens the tummy. Every seam’s a scheme to give you that lithe young American look.

You can find these ads on eBay.

Watch Where You’re Putting That Coke Bottle, Bub

Product placement matters. Accident? Or subliminal phallic ad designed to make men and a few free-swingin’ women take immediate action?

The seller’s description:

[V]intage original 1950s double sided Coca-Cola – Coke soda fountain sign with its original aluminum frame. This is an outstanding antique original example the artwork is of course by Gil Elvgren, a pretty circus pin up girl performer on a trapeze with text that reads “Now! For Coke – Take Plenty of Coke Home”.

Spotting Memories In Retro Radio Ads

Still nostalgic thinking about the old days in Milwaukee radio, I’ve been hanging out consuming The Halcyon Daze (I prefer using the “classic” interface for navigation, in case you visit here, Scott Beddome — aka rock’s Scott “The Kid”). I’m particularly smitten with this post of 1984 TV commercials for radio — especially this classic WKTI spot:

Not only does it feature Reitman & Mueller, and the Booze Brothers — but that’s Warren Wiegratz on the keyboards!

Having stalked Oceans for years, I’d know. My Oceans following began in 1984 or so, when my biological sister’s foreign exchange “French sister,” Christine (Oh, so tempted to talk trash about Christine and her visit; but I will behave.), came to stay with us and she wanted to hear a jazz band. So my parents took her to Sardino’s. After an early crush on Duane Stuermer (somewhere around here I have signed ticket stubs from Duane, and, possibly, his brother Daryl), I eventually forged a friendship with drummer Ernie Adams — who’s dad, it turned out, worked with my mom. Small world. It became even cozier when Ernie and and dated; but I don’t like to kiss and tell. *wink*

Of Tailgators, Radio & Retail

This is a vintage WKTI Tailgator pinback from 1983, featuring Old Style beer. It’s mere 1.75 inches, but oh the size of the memories it unleashes…

If you’re of a certain age — and from the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, area — you remember this era of WKTI, Reitman & Mueller — and the uncomfortably named Jim “Lips” LaBelle.

Thinking of WKTI reminds me of the days our family ventured into the retail business. We bought into the Just Pants franchise, running the Just Pants store at Southridge Mall, then a Taubman Mall (Taubman married and divorced from Christie Brinkley, a rather too present icon of my life, helping me date nearly anything).

Our biggest Just Pants competitor was the County Seat — and Kohl’s department store (which bled we specialty jean stores to death by using Levi’s and Lee denim loss leader sales). Anyone else remember the days of denim walls so high, sales staff used ladders to reach the goods? That’s the pun behind this sexy Just Pants ad — it predates when we had our store (and I doubt we would have ran the ad ourselves, even if it had been in the creative pool of franchisee options.)

Anyway, in that era we not only often played WKTI in the store but we special ordered and custom hemmed Bob Reitman‘s black boot-cut Levi’s. Yeah, we were that cool.

Back then, we not only played whatever radio we wanted in the store, on July 13, 1985, we played the Live Aid broadcast in the store. I called in from the store to donate, getting myself an official Live Aid t-shirt. (They were out of my size, so I received a size small which wouldn’t have covered The Girls and so it has remained safely packed away all these years.)

Now, WKTI is WLWK, “Lake FM.” (Reitman’s still kicking it on air with his weekly show, It’s Alright, Ma, It’s Only Music.) And, ironically, Lake FM sounds almost like an auditory time capsule of the Reitman & Mueller days. I know, I’ve listened to the station when I’ve traveled home. Old habits die hard and my fingers still “dial” to the stations I recalled. Not that any of them are there anymore.  Lazer 103, QFM, LPX… All long gone. Apparently, after I moved from Wisconsin, the radio station marketplace went to hell. I’m not the only one who’s more than nostalgic; check out 93QFM: The Halcyon Daze for Milwaukee Rock Radio DJ Stories.

This got me thinking about the other radio stations & DJs… And the connections to retail.

Marilynn Mee, aka Jackpot Girl, part of Bob And Brian’s morning show on Lazer 103 (Mee may still be on WKLH?), was someone I met quite often when I was working at the Estee Lauder counter at Gimbels. Mee was pals with Pam, who worked Lancome. I envied Mee her wardrobe of all things.  But then, if you’ve ever had to wear the cosmetic girl garb, well, you’d understand it. Hard to feel 80-‘s glam when you’re wearing a turquoise smock-tent, no matter how fab your face and hair look. (Despite the fact that Marilynn and Pam partied with rock stars, I was the good girl who found herself knocked up; an entirely different subject, and I’ve digressed too much already.)

Because I’m all nostalgic about radio…

My first radio love was WOKY — and AM station that then played top 40 pop stuff. It came in loud and clear on my red ball Panasonic R-70 transistor radio.

I would turn the volume up and dance madly in the back yard. My most vivid memory is of cranking up Billy Preston’s Go Round in Circles and dancing on top of the old wooden picnic table. So not safe, I’m sure, even if you weren’t dancing yourself dizzy goin’ round in circles. Ahh, those were the days, though.

Image Credits: Vintage 1970 Just Pants ad via Ads-Things4Less. Panasonic photo via ebyauctions.

Misogyny & Mini-Bowling Alleys

This vintage matchbook was from the Curtiss Tavern, “on Hi-Way 57 at Plymouth, Wisconsin,” Carl Senglaub, Proprietor. If features a cute little pinup, “The High-Way,” on the front cover. (Which also prompts me to make a pun about “My way or the high-way.” But I’ll try to resist!)

On the inside, there’s a promotion for the bar’s sandwiches and miniature bowling alleys — as well as a joke about women:

God made man and rested –
God made earth and rested –
Then God made woman –
Since then, no one has rested.