My name is Emma. This is my feminism.

Every Commercial Having to do With Housework

on May 20, 2012

I don’t have cable, so I don’t watch that many commercials.  There are usually 1 or 2 commercials that I see when watching shows online, but that’s about it.  So when I go to my parents’ place, or a friend’s house and there is TV on, the commercials completely overwhelm me with their ridiculous gender stereotyping.  Specifically, every commercial having to do with housework. 

Swiffer commercials,

Mr. Clean commercials,

Windex commercials,

Scrubbing Bubbles commercials,

…I think you get the idea.  If the commercial has to do with cleaning inside the home, it features a woman doing the cleaning.  A man can narrate, or the be one telling her how to clean, a la Mr. Clean, but a man will never be the one actually doing the cleaning. 

If you start to think that we’ve achieved equality, and there is no longer “women’s work” and “men’s work,” just watch a couple of these commercials.  Yes, women have joined the workforce and theoretically are entitled to the same amount of money and the same jobs as men, but men have not joined the house-workforce in equal numbers.  So really, women just have double the amount of work.

And I realize that these commercials are trying to reflect reality, and the unfortunate reality is that women are doing these jobs more than men, but if we want things to change, we have to start with media.  In order to get men more involved in housework and women more able to expect help around the house, we have to change cultural values and ideals.  How do we do that?  With media.  If all cleaning product commercials showed men doing the cleaning, then maybe men would be more likely to consider the fact that they could actually clean. 

That would actually be super cool.  We should start a campaign and get all these companies that I just mentioned to only show men in their ads for a month or something.  They could show the exact same commercials, but with men instead of women.  Can you imagine?  It would look really strange, and maybe then people would realize how fucked it is that seeing a man clean something looks odd.

(Sometimes being an optimist is a big tease.)

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