How NOT to Talk to a Woman

Earlier this week, I was searching through the library for some books to help jump-start my research for my DIS. After about 30 minutes I was already bogged down with about 6 titles, when this one orange book on a side shelf jumped out at me: Advertising Pure and Simple (Seiden, 1976). I picked it up and flipped to the table of contents to see it was worth my time. Right there Chapter 13: How Not to Talk to a Woman. My first reaction was disgust. I felt as if this probably tree-hugging Seiden had 'cracked the code' of women. I added it to my pile of books and headed to check out.

A few days later, I got a chance to read the chapter. It was relatively short-- only 9 pages. My disgust deepened. How can he put such a huge demographic in only 9 pages! jerk! 

However my opinion quickly changed as soon as I started reading.

He began with his analysis of an 1950s Noxzema commercial. In the commercial the woman using the soap is glorified by her husband for looking so young. Not looking healthy. Not taking care of her body. Not looking beautiful or lovely. Looking young.

"I can't understand how people in the business of talking to women and selling products to them could be so insensitive to their feelings...It's no way to talk to a woman." (119)

Alright. Maybe Seiden isn't such a jerk after all. 

The author continues to explain that in the 1950s men were used in commercials and ads for women's products, "to capitalize on female feelings of inferiority" (121). He questions why women once felt more comfortable with men telling them what to buy. 

In the 1970s there was a huge serge of new female (and male) sexuality with new technology, new medicines and a new culture to go along with it. Seiden explains that with this new culture and uprising of women's rights, ads geared towards women must change. They are no longer housewives watching day-time TV. They are working mothers. They are earning degrees. And most importantly striving for equal rights both at home and in the work force. 

While I don't personally agree in some of the new 'sexuality' movements that are even occurring today, you have to give the female population their due. Women are running for office. Women are wining Nobel Peace Prizes. Women are Time's Person of the Year. 

"The old rules must go. Old formulas won't work. It's a whole new exciting woman we're going to be talking to, and maybe we'll need more new exciting women in our business to talk to her...
The king is dead.
Long live the queen." (128)


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