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8 Horribly Sexist Lessons Learned From Newly Unearthed Vintage Newsreels

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MSBICYCLE
British Pathé

When it comes to backwards ideas about women, vintage print ads weren't the only pieces of media history that served up casual sexism by the truckload.

Earlier this month, British Pathé (formerly known as Pathé News) dropped its 85,000-video collection of historic films on YouTube, most of them mid-century newsreels from the U.S. and the British Empire.

Mixed in with the archaic lingo (have you ever heard baldness described as having "a scanty thatch?") and zany predictions about the future, the footage depicts both important events and slice-of-life moments -- and plenty of cringeworthy attitudes toward women.

Sexism remains all-too-common in modern media, but at the very least, wolf-whistling and leering commentators now seem as hopelessly anachronistic as black-and-white newscasts.

Here are 8 horribly sexist messages we spotted in the pile:

1. "There's only one way to keep warm: strip down to your bathing suits -- that is, if you're a girl!"

2. Never let the actual news get in the way of some pervy ogling.

3. Sporting events involving "the fairer sex" naturally devolve into catfights.

4. Spa advertisements must convince men that beauty treatments "aren't that bad."

5. Companies think a "Most Beautiful Fatty" competition is an effective marketing campaign for plus-size clothing.

6. A "Mrs. America" is completely necessary so that women "tied to the chores of the housewife" could get in on the beauty pageant fun. Sexism squared.

7. The only useful analogue for women playing contact sports is "a bargain sale."

8. Seminars for "aspiring fathers" must be held for men...who already have children.

Occasionally, British Pathè news clips showed sexism cutting in the other direction. This useful seminar teaches "Papa How To Be Mamma," lest his wife undo the shackles of domesticity long enough to step away for a moment. ("The main thing is food: A baby should be fed!"):

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