This advertisement, for the bank Wells Fargo, depicts a father running errands for his partner (who is presumably female, as implied in the “Your Body After Baby” scene in the commercial) while bringing their infant along. The commercial aims to question certain gendered divisions of labor, though in doing so, it reinforces stereotypical male behavior. On the one hand, the commercial does offer a realistic representation of the type of co-parenting that Lisa Belkin explores in “When Mom and Dad Share It All,” in which both partners “work equal hours, spend equal time with their children, [and] take equal responsibility for their home” (1). The father picks up the dry cleaning, buys presents for relatives, and goes grocery shopping, thereby challenging the expectation that only mothers should be responsible for “feeding, clothing, cleaning, and sustaining themselves and their families” (Cowan 151).
That said, the commercial suggests that men are not entirely capable of assuming such roles, which is made clear by the phone exchanges between husband and wife: “Honey I got this,” the father reassures the mother. Moreover, his cluelessness is endearing, as the father takes his child with him to a bar to grab lunch. This directly relates to Belkin’s observation that, “If the toddler’s clothes don’t match, if the thank-you notes don’t get written, if the house is a shambles, it is seen as her [the mother’s] fault” (6), while the father is applauded for any contribution he makes. Thus, the commercial proves both progressive and problematic.
Belkin, Lisa. “When Mom and Dad Share It All.” New York Times Magazine. The New York Times, 15 June 2008. Web.
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.