Dad Test

Dads are often portrayed in advertisements and media as incompetent parents. This Huggies ad does exactly that; it says leaving babies alone with dads is “the toughest test imaginable.” The ad is geared towards an average, young middle class family. The message given is that when the father is clueless about parenting, Huggies diapers can pick up their slack. Gender dictates the roles of parents.
This ad is counterproductive compared to the vision discussed by Lisa Belkin in When Mom and Dad Share it All. She explains the importance of dividing work equally between parents. One couple she interviewed had made an agreement that “they would not be… the mother-knows-best mold” (Belkin 1). The article presents that mold as out-dated. However, this Huggies ad came out in 2012, and the mothers in the ad certainly know best. One mother tells her husband “Good luck” before leaving, suggesting that he is less skilled as a parent. This ad sets the expectation that mothers must pick up the slack after the fathers. I think society would benefit from ads that represent mothers and fathers as equally involved and skilled parents, because as Belkin says, “Gender should not determine the division of labor at home” (Belkin 2).

Work Cited
Belkin, Lisa. “When Mom and Dad Share It All.” NYTimes Magazine. New York Times, 15 June 2008. Web.

2 thoughts on “Dad Test

  1. taylorstokes19

    Funny thing is that I saw this commercial on TV and was going to do an ad critique on it. I believe that you are right, this commercial serves the purpose to show that mothers do know best everything when it comes to child care and fathers are incompetent. Commercials like these put pressure on woman to live up to the notion that they must be the main caretaker of their children, even if that is a role they do not wish to fulfill. Commercials should show women and men taking care of children equally, so that the pressure is not always put on women to be the ones who “knows best.”

  2. yamilaw

    I definitely agree with both of you. This type of advertisement perpetuates the unequal division of labor in the home. I think the sardonic tone of the commercial is another important factor in how it portrays women as the one who “knows best.” It is not presenting the issue that usually mothers are the ones taking most responsibilities in the home (especially taking care of children) in a serious way that would open a discussion. Instead, it pokes fun at the fact that dads are clueless while the women are given time off doing expected feminine activities such as getting a manicure or exercising. This proves how lots of advertisements are still using a story line around stereotypical gender roles.


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