She's Come a Long Way

Madison Avenue once focused on convincing women that fulfillment lay in whiter whites and tastier desserts. These days, who bakes?

Since women are the nation's top consumers, advertising has always made them the center of its world. Ads portrayed proper female aspirations: to be a desirable companion, a competent cleaner, a loving mother. The women in ads found fulfillment in the supermarket aisles -- and in Maidenform bras. But as millions began to venture beyond the home in the 1970s, the images had to change. Madison Avenue's women developed minds of their own. Consider the female Honda buyer, who thinks like a man. Or Charlie, reaching out to touch someone. Even romance mirrors complex modern reality: the cute young thing in...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!