i chose to do an image analysis of a vintage 1970’s ad for Midol, a pain reliever specifically marketed for menstrual cramps. The picture on the ad is of a young man, with the words “Your Guy: Your No.1 Reason for Midol” underneath. My immediate interpretation of the point this ad was trying to get across was this: the reason women should take Midol is not to relieve the pain of their period cramps, oh no. Women should take Midol so that they don’t give their husbands a headache from their constant whining about how much pain they’re in.
While this ad is quite blatantly sexist by today’s standards, in 1974 this was fairly commonplace. The feminist movement was just catching on at this point, so most people weren’t exactly “woke” yet. The culture at the time was that women were homemakers, men were the breadwinners of the family, and wives always put their husbands first before themselves. This is why this ad would make sense at the time.
It’s only in the teeny tiny print at the bottom of the ad that they mention the actual effects of taking Midol. Even then, their closing statement is “when you feel good, you’re good to be around. So use Midol. You’ve got a beautiful reason.” Because pain relief is not a legitimate enough reason, apparently. The only real reason you’re taking Midol is so that you yourself don’t become a pain.