Alcoa Aluminium Advertisement Analysis

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In 1953, Alcoa Aluminium published their advertisement for Del Monte ketchups with flip up, easy to open ketchup lids called HyTop. It read “You mean a woman can open it?” and depicted a stereotypical image of a woman wearing red lipstick and nail polish preparing to open a brand new ketchup bottle. Advertisements portraying gender roles the way that “You mean a woman can open it?” did were less frowned upon and more popular at the time, although today they would be considered overly “sexist” or offensive. This critical response will examine the origins of this particular type of advertising from the 1950s, as well as the way Alcoa’s advertisement represented women at the time.

Although gender equality wasn’t exactly a complete achievement
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The line “you’ll recognise the attractive, tractable HyTop when you see it on your grocer’s shelf” particularly emphasised the portrayal of women as “housewives”, as it assumed women at home took care of domestic duties such as grocery shopping, rather than the men. Additionally, the ketchup lid could be opened without “a knife blade, a bottle opener, or even a husband”, implying that women were overly dependent on their husbands for the simplest tasks, further supporting the idea of career-chasing fathers and “happy homemaker” mothers, as well as the idea of male dominance that stemmed from this. However, it does contain a potentially offensive exaggeration that women not only are physically unable to, but also do not know how to open a ketchup lid: “it spins off – and back on again – without muscle power”. This clause would have been seen as a huge insult to the intelligence for women, and surely would have caused some angry reactions by women at the time, and even more so in later decades when women’s rights took off, along with other advertisements of its…show more content…
She seems to reflect the image of a 1950s American woman, with a rich-looking top and a practical hair-do, wearing red nail polish and lipstick and having long lashes and near eyebrows. She is also shown pouting; her lips are open at a round shape, possibly to look more attractive to men. Her amazed expression whilst looking at the lid also could be taken as an insult to the intelligence of women, as if she is relieved that she can finally open the lid.

In the end, it is safe to say that the media had a large effect on the representation of gender roles in advertisements similar to Alcoa Aluminium’s, as well as the lack of any major legislation or movements relating to women’s rights or gender equality. Women’s role of “homemakers” was deeply emphasised and they were considered weak compared to men, which advertisements and media particularly shoved into people’s
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