Last week, Sleepy’s debuted a commercial that was about more than mattresses. It features a father running the household, while the mother is a solider in her combat uniform and short cropped hair returning from a campaign.
For the mother to leave, the father had to take responsibility of the home. This echoes Anzaldúa’s critique that if women are to defy gender expectations, men also have to defy theirs. She says that for men, “Tenderness […] is so feared” (1987, p. 84). This commercial shows a husband defying this, being nurturing and playful with his children while shopping for a mattress.
The daughter almost symbolizes femininity evolving under her parents. She wears a green tutu and likes arts and crafts. But her parents have also shown her that gender doesn’t determine her domestic and work responsibilities when she’s older.
These flipped gender roles are targeted at younger parents, mothers who would be inspired to see this shift depicted in a commercial. Perhaps it would make them consider how they model gender to their children. The commercial played during Live with Kelly and Michael, a show that caters to its female audience. Although even progressive viewers might not expect this twist, it is something they would appreciate.
Anzaldúa, G. (1987) La conciencia de la mestiza: Towards a new consciousness.