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Her Secret Past
December 11, 2006 9:33 AM   Subscribe

Her Secret Past is a Flickr group of retro (1950's - give or take a decade) advertisements targeted at women's fears, both the common ones (hairiness/lack of tiny monkey, wrinkles) and the lesser known ones (vagina so dirty it causes you to repeatedly leave parties early). Along the same lines, but for men is His Secret Past - although if you really want to see retro advertisements targeted at men, this set of ads from May 1963's Playboy would be the perfect source.
posted by jonson (47 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
D'oh! That would be THIS set of ads from May 1963's Playboy... grumble grumble dang ol' itchy trigger finger!
posted by jonson at 9:36 AM on December 11, 2006 [1 favorite]


Yeah, some of these ads are pretty funny.

"So, you have vaginal problems? Well, send for our informational brochure on vaginal health.

Meanwhile, now that we have your attention, buy THIS product that has nothing to do with that at all."
posted by darkstar at 9:50 AM on December 11, 2006


Who knew my wife had been suffering from a lack of tiny monkey all these years.
posted by Dillenger69 at 10:15 AM on December 11, 2006


Tiny Monkeys for everyone! This travesty cannot continue!
posted by elendil71 at 10:33 AM on December 11, 2006


Actually, Lysol was used as a douche.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:33 AM on December 11, 2006


Thanks for this post - it's always a hoot having a look at old ads like this, and seeing the parallels to the modern consumer culture.

For instance, this ad could easily pitch Axe body today.
posted by EatTheWeak at 10:38 AM on December 11, 2006


Whoa whoa whoa - hold on there, my undead friend.

Women used to use Lysol as a douche? The ad is wierdly vague. Do you mean that Lysol sold a douche under the brand name Lysol, or do you mean that women used ordinary Lysol - the same one used worldwide to kill the hanta virus etc in toilets - as a douche?

And if the latter, dear god, why?
posted by Pastabagel at 10:59 AM on December 11, 2006


For instance, this ad could easily pitch Axe body today.
posted by EatTheWeak


It was, I did, and my Tiny Monkey has never been the same.
posted by hal9k at 11:01 AM on December 11, 2006


Because, as the ad says, "only a poison can kill germs."
posted by subtle_squid at 11:03 AM on December 11, 2006


For instance, this ad could easily pitch Axe body today.
posted by EatTheWeak
.

Indeed. I used Axe body wash this morning and I was mobbed by a bunch of women, too. They were lady Transit Cops and they were arresting me for peeing on the train floor, but I was mobbed just the same.
posted by jonmc at 11:07 AM on December 11, 2006


BTW, every guy should print this one out, and put it in his gf's or wife's stocking for a Christmas morning laugh.

Better yet, put it in an envelope with the words KNOW YOUR ROLE on the cover.
posted by Pastabagel at 11:10 AM on December 11, 2006


Regular Lysol was marketed as a douche. A lot of women interpreted these ads as having a coded message that Lysol was a contraceptive, since advertising birth control was illegal. This article even claims that it was the most popular female contraceptive from 1930-1960 (In the US, I assume)!
posted by lemuria at 11:20 AM on December 11, 2006


The ad is rather vague about what Lysol's role is in all this...but...

...the idea of Lysol as a douche?

*shudder*
posted by darkstar at 11:22 AM on December 11, 2006


Pastabagel, incredible article.



You've come a long way, baby!
posted by darkstar at 11:26 AM on December 11, 2006


A lot of women interpreted these ads as having a coded message that Lysol was a contraceptive, since advertising birth control was illegal.

Good God. I can't tell which is worse - that the company sold lysol for this purpose (douche) when they had no scientific basis for doing so, or that women believed it even after what I can only assume would be horrible results.
posted by Pastabagel at 11:27 AM on December 11, 2006


I love that the Lysol ad is essentially saying, "Fads come and go, but more women are buying Lysol now than ever before! This proves it makes an excellent douche. And always will be."
posted by piratebowling at 11:31 AM on December 11, 2006


Sometimes the jokes just write themselves...
posted by MikeMc at 11:32 AM on December 11, 2006


See also Duke University's John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History, part of their Special Collections Library.

Ad*Access contains advertising images from 1911-1956, and includes a Beauty and Hygiene section. It's harder to find the stuff aimed at men, but I have long loved this United Air Lines ad: For Men Only "The Chicago Executive"

They also have a separate collection called Emergence of Advertising in America with images from 1850-1920.
posted by bevedog at 11:32 AM on December 11, 2006 [1 favorite]


Tiny bitching about a great post: I wish the scans were larger. I'm a registered Flickr member, and I'd love to be able to click "large" and get a 800x600 image to peruse more carefully, as my eyes, even with glasses, are that of an old man.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 11:33 AM on December 11, 2006


Didn't this one turn out to be a hoax?
posted by jonmc at 11:34 AM on December 11, 2006


lemuria writes "This article even claims that it was the most popular female contraceptive from 1930-1960 (In the US, I assume)!"

You know, that blip claims that Lysol is not effective as a contraceptive; I'm not sure how they know that, but I find it surprising. I mean, I'm sure that a Lysol douche isn't as effective as most forms of scientific birth control, but it's gotta have some effect....

And holy shit, this is totally an ad for a contraceptive. "Coded" my ass; they're pretty explicit about it.

Oh, previous Metafilter post about this use of Lysol.
posted by mr_roboto at 11:34 AM on December 11, 2006


Oh, some people have scanned these at a right and proper size. Much better.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 11:36 AM on December 11, 2006


I'm sure that a Lysol douche isn't as effective as most forms of scientific birth control, but it's gotta have some effect....


Well, if the woman does get pregnant, the kid will go through life smelling like a hospital.
posted by jonmc at 11:37 AM on December 11, 2006


Ohhhhhhh.... rhymes with Gremlin!
posted by sonofsamiam at 11:39 AM on December 11, 2006


jonmc writes "Didn't this one turn out to be a hoax?"

It's gotta be. It's just too over-the-top. Snopes couldn't confirm the hoaxiness of it, but they couldn't confirm the original source either.
posted by mr_roboto at 11:39 AM on December 11, 2006


This is hilarious and awful at once.

Chicago Executives, toxic douches and bare-chested older gentlemen struggling against each other and their underwear. Is it Christams already?
posted by Pastabagel at 11:40 AM on December 11, 2006


"Coded" my ass; they're pretty explicit about it.

"Complete, explicit instructions come with every bottle."

It would be interesting to find those.
posted by sonofsamiam at 11:40 AM on December 11, 2006


This excerpt from a book published in 1936 criticized Lysol's advertising that said that Lysol was safe to use as a douche and other ads that very heavily implied that it could be used as a contraceptive. And it explains why Lysol sucks as a contraceptive.
posted by nooneyouknow at 11:42 AM on December 11, 2006


Make no mistake, only a poisson can kill germs. In your pants.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 11:47 AM on December 11, 2006 [1 favorite]


"Using the wrong disinfectant may lead to very serious consequences"

Um. Right. Owie.

How many women did serious damage to themselves in this way? Have there been any long-term consequences from the protracted use of Lysol as a douche? Anyone know of any research?
posted by goo at 11:50 AM on December 11, 2006


Thanks for posting this.

What a coincidence, I posted some late 1800's "Private Instructions to Lady Patients" on my flickr page a couple weeks ago.
posted by marxchivist at 12:01 PM on December 11, 2006


I thought "tiny monkey" was a euphemism. I stand both corrected and confused.
posted by chairface at 12:07 PM on December 11, 2006


Women used to use Lysol as a douche?

Yup. I made an FPP about this with all the documentation a couple years ago. The American Medical Association even felt it was necessary to scold Lysol in the early 1960s (!) for marketing itself as a douche, a contraceptive, and potentially an abortifacient.
posted by jonp72 at 12:23 PM on December 11, 2006


I once found Listerine ads from 50s pulp magazines in the donation box at the library where I work. They advertised the original formula as a sure-fire infectious dandruff reliever (some google images here).
posted by gargoyle93 at 12:31 PM on December 11, 2006


Oh god, I remember that tiny monkey advertisment! I so wanted one! (I was nine.)

Ah, memories of the days when monkeys arrived in the post.
posted by jokeefe at 12:38 PM on December 11, 2006


I read "staying young with him" to mean that Lysol made one's cootchie tighter, not that it was birth control. That I don't get: I have yet to have a woman whose vagina was too loose, including middle-aged women who had sex zillions of times and had a baby vaginally at least once.
posted by davy at 1:32 PM on December 11, 2006


Well, no one wants to come home to a vagina full of yikes! My wife’s vagina is so bright it’s gotta wear shades (she understands my world of strain and pressure and speaks to me in a low soothing tone before I head out and stay out all night).
*rubs frying pan head injury*
posted by Smedleyman at 1:37 PM on December 11, 2006


everyone seems to think it's shocking to use lysol as a douche, but - holy crap - have you ever smelt a rancid poon? you have to go to under the kitchen sink and huff the disinfectant through your nose to overcome the smell, all the time pretending you're just looking for a condom, and *whoops* none left!
Anyway, all i'm saying is... there are some people... with really stinky vage's.
(that's why everyone loves the cock)
posted by wumpus at 1:44 PM on December 11, 2006


No wumpus,, I've never had that experience except with women with active infections of some kind -- that one just runs from. Even then I can't imagine Lysol being an improvement; Pine-Sol maybe.
posted by davy at 2:23 PM on December 11, 2006


Ah, memories of the days when monkeys arrived in the post.

It's like Big Rock Candy Mountain!!!
posted by sonofsamiam at 2:26 PM on December 11, 2006


Her vagine hangs loose, like sleeve of wizard.
posted by quite unimportant at 3:38 PM on December 11, 2006


I had a 1956 edition of the Merck Manual that listed Lysol solution as a douche. UInfortunately, I can't find a pdf online to back it up.
posted by figment of my conation at 3:40 PM on December 11, 2006


Even then I can't imagine Lysol being an improvement; Pine-Sol maybe.

Evergreen fetishist.
posted by jonmc at 3:45 PM on December 11, 2006


While we're on historical minutiae, can anyone tell me about beer busts or "bundling"? I'm pretty sure they weren't talking about this kind of beer bust, but other than that I'm lost...
posted by nebulawindphone at 5:21 PM on December 11, 2006


Another Lysol douche ad. "Amazing proved power to kill germ-life on contact [...] Appealing daintiness is assured." Oh, that's not code for anything.
posted by lovecrafty at 2:28 AM on December 12, 2006


A lot of women interpreted these ads as having a coded message that Lysol was a contraceptive

Little did they know that Lysol uses the cleaning power of distilled, concentrated wizard spooge.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:50 AM on December 12, 2006


I can see a few middle-aged people I know as the offspring of a germophobic housewife and a disgruntled factory worker at a lysol bottling plant.
posted by tehloki at 9:34 AM on December 12, 2006


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