Rosie the Riveter holds Swiffer


Swiffer’s recent advertisement for its newest mop received harsh backlash as soon as the campaign launched and for good reason. The woman featured in the ad closely resembles Rosie the Riveter. Rosie the Riveter was an iconic symbol from WWII that encouraged women to find work outside the home and to gain economic independence. However, in the Swiffer ad, the use of the Rosie the Riveter image further exemplifies female stereotypes; namely, that women are responsible for the housework—a notion that is clearly present in ads today, and a notion that influences the construction of social norms. According to Lisa Belkin, women still “do about twice as much around the house as men” because social norms dictate how society understands the gender-labor relationship (4). However, in today’s modern society, even though these norms persist, “gender should not determine the division of labor at home” (2). Moreover, the gender-labor relationship should not be influenced by the media’s deceptive and persuasive efforts in creating strict gender roles to sell products.

Belkin, Lisa. “When Mom and Dad Share it All.” New York Times. 15 6 2008: 1-16. Print.


One thought on “Rosie the Riveter holds Swiffer

  1. auchusi

    While I personally agree that the use of Rosie in this Swiffer cleaning commercial can be offensive by using such a powerful symbol to promote the stereotypical housewife image, I think it is also important to consider the other perspective. While the exact thought of producers who made this advertisement is unknown, I think that we could also argue the idea that the use of Rosie offers a sign of strength and female power to the women who do work within the home, bringing an entirely new positive light to this ad. Too often I feel that women who are in charge of their households and children without a “real” job are looked down upon, mocked, and told that their work is not important. As you stated, is true that “gender should not determine the division of labor at home,” but when the woman does assume the somewhat stereotypical role of caretaker, she should also be praised with as much respect as Rosie. Just because Rosie was an image of encouragement and determination for women in the so-called “regular” workforce doesn’t mean that her showing up in a Swiffer commercial is a mocking of what she stands for. Housewives, caretakers, and stay-at-home moms are determined, strong, courageous women as well; the way and place in which they work does not strip these qualities away from them as women, and they too have the right to be represented by Rosie.


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