I had a random (and anonymous) comment left on my blog quite recently, and thought I’d share it all with you. It’s on my “Roses only… more like sexist only” blog post.
The commenter said:
Bec, it’s just an ad… get over it.
They’re not playing into anything, they’re doing a good job at selling their product.
I’m sure if you were trying to sell lots of your over-priced flowers you’d be trying to do whatever it takes to get people to buy them too.
*Ahem… REBECCA… ahem*
Anyway… It’s not just AN ad. If it were only ONE ad in all the other ads that portray men and women as equal, with the similar interests and that there were not boy topics and girl topics, then I wouldn’t have an issue with it… because clearly they were attempting to be provocative, versus just playing into existing stereotypes about the gender divide.
I have a problem with TV commercials (which is why I so rarely watch TV these days), especially those that play into gender stereotypes and continue to reinforce the domesticity of women, or suggest that only women perform some roles and not others. I’ve made a little collection of TV ads from the 80s onwards (in Australia) that all depict women in traditional roles.
(Australian MasterFoods Tuscan meatballs advert)
This ad is relatively recent, and with the exception of one male/female couple in a kitchen playing with spices together, this ad focuses on women cooking and performing food duties.
(Chicken Tonight Ad (1993))
“Mum. Can we have Chicken Tonight tomorrow?” Because as we all know, only mothers cook food for their families.
(Ajax 1980s Australian ad)
A group of women singing about how great Spray and Wipe is for cleaning their houses (mostly kitchens). Spray and Wipe then went on a character creation and lifestyle phase, using the same “family” over the following 20 plus years, watching the kids grow up and various things happening (all with the same tuned jingle) and each ad about some rapid cleaning that needed to be done immediately, mostly by the mother, with Spray and Wipe coming to the rescue. Dad helps out, but the mother does the majority of the work… for almost 30 years.
(SPRAY AND WIPE AUSTRALIAN COMMERCIAL)
(Spray And Wipe Australian Ad (1989))
(Ajax Spray n Wipe 2010 Ad)
Clearly women belong in the kitchen… or cleaning up everyone else’s mess. The other thing that is annoying about these ads is the continuation of the perfection ideal that women must also have. We must always look beautiful, our houses must always be beautiful, we must always… etc.
(KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) Australia Ad – 2006)
This ad is quite subtle in it’s sexism… it only hit me at the end of the video how sexist this video is… see if you can spot it yourself… Did you notice that the only man in the ad is the truck driver? Did you notice that all the KFC employees were female? The ones cleaning the store, the one greeting the big, brave truck driver man? Women once again clean, and once again cook for other people.
The final ad I’m sharing in this post is about a man… and its about a man because of SCIENCE. Men do science, women do cleaning.
(Domestos (Australian ad) 1987)
So, don’t tell me it’s just an ad. It’s never just an ad… these things are both a reflection of modern society and a clear display of how fucked up gender roles are. Next time think a little before attempting to tell me how the world works. Women are only less because men have been the default for such a long time. One day when it is as acceptable for a man to keep house as a woman, then I might stop pointing out sexism and other similar issues.