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This Dodge advertisement was published decades earlier than most of the ads included in this exhibit. It is a representative example of an earlier trend in which women's mobility was linked to women's suffrage. Though the link is not made explicitly, the ad allows for greater female agency than in many of the mid-century ads exhibited here. The gender of the driver is difficult to read, but it appears that we have two women enjoying the car independently of any male relations. The language of the ad emphasizes that this is a car for "everyone," not just for "business men." In this context, "everyone" refers to women, who had not previously been considered car buyers. As women became more active participants in the public sphere, car advertisements attempted to harness that social movement to sell cars to women. Unfortunately, most later ads would not credit women with as much purchasing power, and would appeal to men instead.
It is quite uncommon for an aged woman to appear in automobile advertisements. Almost all women, be they The Chick or The Mother, are presented as young and beautiful. In some cases, this youthful beauty is intended to appeal to the male gaze. In others, it is supposed to suggest a sort of youthful energy that comes with mobility. Instead of this youthfulness, here we see an elderly couple enjoying a sports car. This ad shows us a different kind of wife than we're used to—one whose image suggests longevity and wholesomeness rather than sex appeal.
Throughout this exhibit, you have seen advertisers prescribe certain roles by which women 'should' participate in America's automotive culture. This ad is a significant exception to the more common tropes because it shows a different kind of female participation. Unlike The Incompetent, such a bad driver that she needs a less complicated car than a man does, Phyllis Roe is shown here demonstrating real, technical skill as part of the car manufacturing process. Yes, needlework is considered a traditionally female skill. Yes, the ad copy refers to Phyllis, who is clearly a grown woman, as a "girl." Nonetheless, in the context of car advertisements, it is quite unusual to see a woman actually working on a car in any capacity. Contrast this image with the Fiat mechanic, an example of The Seductress, posing coyly rather than working. In this ad, Phyllis has real agency, and her work is being treated with respect.