Swiffer: New Product and Old Values

With its new series of TV Commercials, Swiffer uses an endearing old couple to demonstrate the ease of use of their new duster. However, they also promote very traditional gender roles within the household. Lea, the woman, does the cleaning while her husband Morty simply watches and does not help. Furthermore, when Lea remarks to him about how great the new product is, he is sleeping, suggesting ignorance or a lack of appreciation toward his wife’s work. This ad reminds me of a concept in the Ruth Cowan reading: “no matter how many conveniences were at their command, [women] were still spending roughly the same number of hours per week at housework as their mothers had.” There is a disconnect here, as Swiffer promotes an advancement in technology yet the preservation of an antiquated, gendered system.  The ad targets women with an expectation that they do most, if not all, of the housework.

Cowan, Ruth Schwartz. “Household Technology and Household Work between 1900 and 1940.” More Work for Mother: The Ironies of Household Technology from the Open Hearth to the Microwave. New York: Basic, 1983. 151-91. Print.

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