This is a very clear example of ‘modernity’ which as stated earlier, is the ‘next-best-thing’ attitude. It demonstrates the distinctions made by the producer between the two traditional genders. The blurbs targeted towards men emphasize the structure of the car itself, the aesthetics of the car, and what that means for the man as a symbol of luxury and uniqueness. On the other hand, the ad which targets the woman emphasizes the ease of use again. Most advertisements where the woman is the target audience emphasize ease of use, affordability, and freedom.
Hudson - 1948
This advertisement even creates its own word : “roadability” which is amusing because it attempts to emphasize the excellent safety quality of the car and the status and envy it will bring amongst the buyers peers since other couples are looking at this car.
Austin - 1948
This advertisement is a classic example of the male gender neutral perspective. It is supposed to emphasize how it is meant to be a family car, but does not actually have a depiction of the family in it. It emphasizes the performance, taste, style, and dependability. This demonstrates the male gender neutral lens as there is no family actually present in the car advertisement and the jargon used to describe the car describes the engineering and design of the car.
Monarch - 1948
This car advertisement demonstrates luxury and modernity. It depicts a couple inviting another couple into their car to prove how well rounded the first couple is with the ownership of the car. This advertisement attempts to articulate a “pride of ownership” associated with the car and the new “built-in ventilating system”. The advertisement describes the upholstery as “rich” and “luxurious” with a “sparkling instruments panel”. Clearly, status is associated with this kind of car, and women and other couples are used to demonstrate this perception. Here, the male lens is evident as women are no more than props to symbolize one’s status and demonstrate the highly gendered perspective that these car advertisements took on in the late 1940s.
Pontiac - 1948
This is an example that emphasizes ‘middle class affordability” since it prides itself with being in second place. Presented in the same time period as the cars associated with “luxury” and “status”, the affordability and dependability of cars without the most advanced engine demonstrates a growing popularity and necessity of the car to more moderate income families.
In addition, this affordability and increasing emphasis on “middle class affordability” may stem from the increasing purchasing power of the working class in the postwar period as Shelly Nickles argues as opposed to the more relatively rigid emphasis on class prior to the war.1
1Shelley Nickles, “More Is Better: Mass Consumption, Gender, and Class Identity in Postwar America,” American Quarterly 54, no. 4 (2002): 581–622.