Today we told you about Lukas Williams, the five-year-old child whose parents are suing a Tennessee school district over an over-zealous spanking he received at school.

But while the ethics of spanking children is a debated topic in 2013, it hasn’t always been this way. In fact, if you go back to the 1950’s, the question wasn’t whether spanking children is acceptable. It was whether spanking women was acceptable.

The “History in Pictures” twitter handle recently uncovered a gem from a 1950’s edition of the New York Daily Mirror.

In the paper, four men were asked one simple question: “If a woman needs it, should she be spanked?”

No, this isn’t a joke. And “yes” is how each respondent answered.

“Why not,” said Brooklyn resident Miguel Matos. “If they don’t know how to be treated by the time they’re adults, they should be treated like children and spanked.”

Barber Frank Desiderio agrees.

“Yes, when they deserve it,” he said. “As a barber I’ve got a lot of faith in the hairbrush.”


“You bet,” a Brooklyn parking lot attendant answered. “It teaches them who’s boss. A lot of women forget this is a man’s world and a lot of men who stepped down as boss of a family wish they hadn’t.”

Even toy factory owners, like William Davis, thought women should be spanked.

“Yes. Most of them have it coming to them anyway,” he said. “If they don’t it will remind them how well off they are. I subscribe to the theory that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Thank you for your theory Mr. Davis. Now please resume your spanking.

It’s easy to forget how much the western world has changed in the last half-century. Of course we still have much to do, but could you imagine what would happen if a media outlet posted a survey about the legitimacy of spanking adult women today?

For more “oh-my-god-how-was-that-okay” moments, check out this photo album of 30 cringe-worthy vintage ads from past decades. 

Sources: Daily Mail, History in Pictures