“Nothing can make an old woman look better,” says young copywriter, Peggy Olson, when her male colleague suggests they write an ad for Pond’s cold cream that targets mature women.
Peggy is an employee of fictional sixties ad agency, Sterling Cooper Draper and Pryce, on the hit TV show, MadMen. But anyone old enough to remember that far back knows the characters all are chillingly realistic. Men smoke, drank and sexed it up; they needed to be rewarded for a hard day’s work. Women got married, catered to their husbands’ appetites (all two of them) and stayed home to raise the kiddies.
If a woman worked, she usually became a teacher, a nurse or a secretary. If she had lots of ambition (like Peggy), she probably had to sacrifice a good relationship, the marriage and the kiddies. If she didn’t marry by 23, she was an “old maid.” By 50, she was an antique, married or not. By 63, she might as well have been dead. She didn’t worry about anti-aging creams, hormone therapy or Botox. Wrinkles, crow’s feet and frown lines came with the territory. So did midriff bulge, sagging breasts and thinning hair.