Ad Critique: Tide Detergent and Dad-Moms

Tide Laundry Detergent is using its newest commercials to reach an expanding demographic: men who do laundry. While this is a welcome change, as men are equally capable of doing laundry as women are, I found one of the recent commercials to be problematic. The commercial above introduces the newest blend of homemaker, the “dad-mom.” There is nothing wrong with stay-at-home dads (I love mine!), but the way this commercial portrays dads propagates gender roles instead of defying them. By calling the stay-at-home dad a “dad-mom,” Tide is saying that even though the dad is staying home, he is being a mom by doing the housework and caring for the children, which is considered to be women’s work. Tide additionally felt the need to validate the “dad-mom’s” masculinity by ending the commercial with him leaving the room to go do crunches and pull ups so that the “brute strength of dad” is not diminished by his ability to fold his daughter’s “frilliest girl dress.” Though this is just one example of the propagation of gender roles through advertising, it is unfortunate that Tide took a theme that had the potential to be progressive, the stay-at-home dad as an example of variety of family models that exist, and used it instead to reinforce existing stereotypes.

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