The socialization of gender binaries has established a perception of females as the primary parent; of the wife and husband, she normally assumes a much more substantial role in the upbringing of their children. This stereotype is ingrained in American society and it is supported by television/media. This commercial was created by the the massive brand Huggies that is widely known for selling baby products. The camera first focuses on a picture of the product, Pull-Ups (diapers for toddlers), and then a small child laughing as she slides towards her mother. The most important part of the commercial is the jingle that sounds as the child hugs her mother, “Mommy wow, I’m a big kid now,” because it further cements the belief that women are primarily responsible for child-rearing. Although the face of the mother is not shown, the catchy song that clearly refers to the adult as “mommy” confirms that she is indeed a female. Additionally, the child exhibits behavior clearly desiring her mother as she enthusiastically runs towards her.
Commercials and advertisements such as these creates stringent perceptions of the role with respect to the role of gender. On American television, you will see few commercials regarding children that include father figures. The entire baby industry is primarily geared towards women. To a certain extent this is of course understandable as women physically carry the child; however, the lack of advertisements geared towards men supports the very rigid picture of how a child should be raised. It prevents men from assuming a more equitable role in raising their children. The articles “In Sweden Men Can have it All,” and “Mom and Dad Share it All,” the authors discuss the move towards allowing both men and women to share equal responsibility of their children. Although a societal stigma still lingers in Sweden, it is common to see men taking care of their children. Perhaps American society should begin by removing the stigma associated with men taking a leave of absence to care for their children and work towards creating media that reflects both parents as caregivers. For example, Huggies could create a “Daddy wow, I’m a big kid now,” commercial.
Belkin, Lisa. “When Mom and Dad Share It All.” The New York Times [New York] 15 June 2008: n. pag. Print.