L’il Abner was everywhere.
They really got into character.
It’s a good time when everyone participates!
While everyone in this ad is speaking in a presumably Southern dialect, the only one most people will find offensive is Rastus, the man with the chef’s hat. Evidently Rastus has been used as a generic, derogatory, name for black men circa 1880, when the first Uncle Remus book included a Black deacon named “Brer Rastus.” I’ve never heard the term in my life, and I can’t imagine anyone uses it nowadays.
And while Daisy Mae in the above ad refers to “vity-mins,” the ad from a few decades prior uses “vitamines” in a much more offensive manner, portraying Rastus as not only poor in grammar, but entirely ignorant.
It’s hard to ever imagine this cringe-worthy ad ever existed. Granted, Rastus was as made-up as the Swedish Chef, who was also mocked for his impaired speech. But he didn’t represent an entire race, and he wasn’t made to look like an uneducated fool.
And while we can all agree that modern marketing should not include offensive racist stereotypes, what do you think of this?
It seems that a Canadian Inuit woman in 2009 asserted the product name insulted her heritage, as Inuits are often called Eskimos. I don’t know, folks. I can’t get on board with this one. I don’t see anything derogatory about this cute little Eskimo. Who better to sell a frosty treat?
It’s a pretty common occurrence to find pictures like this of Sadie Hawkins Dances in my 1940s-1950s yearbooks. Tattered clothing, corn cob pipes, and overalls with only one arm on the shoulder were de rigueur. Guests often posed on haystacks such as those above.
The Sadie Hawkins dance is named after the Li’l Abner homely comic strip character Sadie Hawkins, created by cartoonist Al Capp. In the strip, the unmarried women of Dogpatch, a hillbilly mountain village, got to chase the bachelors and “marry up” with the ones they caught. The event was introduced in the daily strip, which ran on November 15, 1937.
Consequently, Sadie Hawkins dances are traditionally held in November, with the first official one being held on November 9, 1938. Within a year, hundreds of schools followed suit. By 1952, the event was reportedly celebrated at 40,000 known venues. If nothing else, it empowered women to do the asking–and perhaps face rejection.
In the comic, the voluptuous Daisy Mae has the hots for the dense and simple-minded 6’3″ Abner, hardly “l’il” at all.
Participants at the dances often wore tattered clothing or plaid shirts.
What about you? Did you ever attend a Sadie Hawkins Dance? Did people dress up like the L’il Abner characters, or was it purely a girls-ask-boys affair?