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When I was starting out, it took a while for me to convince even feminists that this was a serious issue, because feminists would say, 'Look, we're dealing with important issues like violence and equal pay, and we don't have time to worry about the image of women in advertising.' But my point was the image of women in advertising has an impact on all these things. The objectification of women leads to violence, and the stereotyping of women makes it less likely that women will get equal pay and decent jobs.
[Ads in the 1970s] were very blatantly sexist, in those days, there was no consciousness about the fact that this might not be a good idea or that this might be offensive. So [advertisers] were able to get away with an ad for a feminine hygiene spray that said, 'Feminine odor is everyone's problem.' Or a cigarette ad where a woman said, 'My boyfriend told me he loved me for my mind. I was never so insulted in my life.' Or an ad for a construction material, which showed a nude woman with a sort of large derriere and thighs, and the copy read, 'She's built like all our products ... heavy where she has to take the strain.'.
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