Advertising the unmentionable

As discussed in a previous post about the Maidenform's memorable campaign, ad agencies played armchair psychologists, exploiting women's supposed "exhibitionist tendencies" with ads that featured women unabashedly displaying their foundation garments in public.

Must have been a confusing time to be taking your social cues from advertising, what with other marketers playing up the fears of ridicule for having even the slightest hint of your "unmentionables" exposed before your peers:

(This worked for men, too, by the way.)

Then again, this 1956 ad wants to have it both ways:  You may suffer an embarrassing display in public, but with the right girdle, at least you won't be displaying too much:

That ad, by the way, seems to owe at least some of its inspiration to this iconic wind-driven revelation:

(Of course, there's probably some degree of male voyeurism behind most of these images.  I don't think we need a psychological study to know that, do we?)


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