While the Nippon Paint Momento ad doesn’t address parenting it does focus on household division of labor that Belkin is concerned with as well in “When Mom and Dad Share It All.” The ad shows a full reversal of stereotypical gender roles in a heterosexual relationship, with the woman painting the walls and the man baking a cake, yet it is unclear how “progressive” this portrayal really is. The reversal is highlighted visually by a split screen in which the couple literally switches positions – the woman starts out with the apron but then crosses over to the other side and emerges in a work shirt, with the man now in kitchen attire. Belkin writes about shared parenting or “co-parenting”, “‘Why do we have to call it anything?’ Amy asks. Marc adds, ‘Why isn’t this just called parenting?’” Similarly, the strong emphasis on crossed or reversed gender roles may serve to strengthen these gender roles – there is a “shock factor” involved in the ad that wouldn’t and shouldn’t be there if the gender roles weren’t so strongly imbued in our culture to begin with. The ad succeeds in promoting the notion that women can do “men’s tasks” if they wish and the other way around, yet it doesn’t challenge the gendered division of tasks itself. In fact, it relies on the “shock factor” of the reversal to catch attention and sell its product. Belkin writes, “The point, [Amy and Marc] say, is not to spit at tradition for the heck of it but rather to think things through instead of defaulting to gender.” Perhaps the couple portrayed in the ad simply divided the work based on preferences and skills which just happened to create a reversal of gender roles, but the strong emphasis placed on this reversal seems to send the message that gender roles are still present and powerful.
Belkin, Lisa. “When Mom and Dad Share It All.” New York Times. The New York Times Company, 15 June 2008. Web.