Vintage No Comment: The Perfect Present, 1994

This ad for Savane trousers from Macy’s appeared in the Nov/Dec 1994 issue of Ms.

What is it about the holiday season that renews the advertising industry’s vigor for sexism? It could be the cookies, the early sunsets or all the Bing Crosby–but it sure is an odd time of year to be a woman. In 2010, we’re told to express nearly maniacal glee over a diamond ring. In 1994, we were supposed to squeal over no-wrinkle, iron-free pants that we didn’t even get to wear. There’s even “science” to “prove” how much women love shopping. How could I forget the genetic impact of my “gathering instincts,” especially at Christmastime?

The fine print of this ad reads, “Now available in fine department stores everywhere. You know, those places where your wife shops.” So here’s the message: Regardless of who buys these pants, the husband or the wife (who is probably the one reading this ad since women shop uncontrollably–it’s in their DNA), they’re the perfect Christmas gift for the lady of the house. Because not only do women love to buy and receive gifts, they really appreciate it when men “do their share” of the housework.



Stephanie hails from Toronto, Canada. She is a Ms. writer, a master of journalism candidate and a hip hop dancer/instructor/choreographer. She got her start in feminist journalism at the age of 16 when she was a member of the first editorial collective at Shameless magazine—and she has never looked back.