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6 vintage sexist ads that show how marketers saw Irish women

Will your man like you better in acrylic?

Source: Brand New Retro

BRIAN McMAHON IS a collector, musician and former fanzine maker who grew up in Dundalk in the 1970s.

He has been scanning vintage ads and other content for his site Brand New Retro since 2011. And this Christmas, he has gathered his collections into a book.

Some of the vintage ads cast a not-so-flattering light on the Ireland they came from – especially in terms of its view of women. Here’s how they came out, through the lens of adverts from the 1960s to the 1980s.

1. ‘He’ll Like You Better In St Bernard’ – Dunnes Stores, Miss magazine, 1966

Source: Brand New Retro

Will he? Then sign me up. This ad for Dunnes acrylic ‘fashion knitwear’ offers perhaps the ultimate in #goals.

2. ‘Win A Man!’ – National Dairy Council, Woman’s Way, 1970

Source: Brand New Retro

“Cheese makes a man feel great. So use a little cunning. Serve a man cheese. And win his heart.”

3. ‘Young, beautiful and 125cc’ – Honda, New Spotlight, 1970

Source: Brand New Retro

“The clean curves that mould into my body. Big, powerful 4-stroke twin that takes you away from the mob. And what a sweet sound, baby! Come to think of it Susan and HONDA have a lot goin’ for them”… delightfully subtle copywriting here. Poor Susan. Pray for Susan.

4. ‘Strictly for the birds!’ – Triumph Spitfire, Magill, 1980

Source: Brand New Retro

Cos it’s a girls’ car, yeah? Buy the old lady one.

5. ‘The way to treat a lady’ – Harp Lancer lager, Magill, 1980

Source: Brand New Retro

Beer for girls. It’s not like beer for men. It’s girly. Look, it comes in a little glass and everything, for their little hands.

6. ‘Everything to make the housewife happy – except a husband!’ – Gala, Irish Housewife, 1965

Source: Brand New Retro

A hubby and a nice new cooker! The dream. Look at her there in her wedding dress. Doesn’t she look delighted?

The real question might be: since these ads, how far have we come?

These and many more treasures are in the Brand New Retro book, published by Liberties Press. You can buy it here.

More: New book brings Ireland’s forgotten magazines to life>

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About the author:

Michael Freeman

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