This ad for Clorox Wipes is problematic because it perpetuates gender role stereotypes. The text, “Your husband wasn’t quite as accurate as he likes to think he is,” is placed over the image of a woman’s hand cleaning the toilet, meaning that there is a huge disparity between the husband’s perceptions and the actual reality of the household. Implicit in the ad is the idea that cleaning is solely the wife’s responsibility, as well as a heteronormative perspective.
The ad reflects the historical role of women as housewives, responsible for domestic tasks such as “cooking, cleaning, managing fuel and laundering” (Cowan 168). This is still as true today as it was in and before the early 20th century, the period that Cowan describes in More Work For Mother. According to the University of Wisconsin’s National Survey of Families and Households, on average the wife spends twice as much time doing housework as the husband, even if both hold full time jobs (Belkin 4). Studies show that this lopsided ratio holds true within all families, regardless of socioeconomic class.
This advertisement is clearly targeting heterosexual women. It serves to further normalize our society’s deeply entrenched perceptions about gender roles. It does nothing to challenge societal convention and conveys the message that it is okay for men to sit back and let women take care of the household tasks. Furthermore, it makes cleaning seem like a woman’s obligation rather than a chore that should be split between the members of the household, creating unfair expectations for women.
Belkin, Lisa. “When Mom and Dad Share It All.” New York Times 15 June 2008: 1-15. Print.
Cowan, Ruth Schwartz. More Work for Mother: The Ironies of Household Technology from the Open Hearth to the Microwave. New York: Basic Books, 1983. 151-247. Print.