Sunday, October 13, 2013

Women as Housewives

Advertising is not only meant for selling products but targeted ideals. In Beauty and the Beast of Advertising, Jean Kilbourne explains ads stating, “They sell values, images and concepts of success and worth, love and sexuality, popularity and normalcy. They tell us who we are and who we should be.” (Kilbourne 121) A lot of ads that are targeted to women, enforce stereotypes in order to sell products and what is depicted as the perfect lifestyle. An example of this tactic can be see in this Clorox commercial: 

In this commercial a group of women enter a “stain fighting facility” where all the dummies, resembling males, find ways to get stains everywhere. The message is clear: It is the women's job to clean up after their messy families. In the commercial the male dummies also have messy mishaps in an office setting, suggesting that men have the career, yet have trouble holding a cup of coffee, and the women are left behind to take care of the laundry.

In this ad the women are again subjected to being the maid of the household. It takes the stereotype of women as housewives and exploits it. Do only mothers do laundry and vacuum? Of course not, but advertisers prey on outdated gender roles because it's what has always worked financially for them. They limit the lifestyle choices of women and pass it off as social norms.

These types of advertisements are not uncommon. In fact Killbourne states “Scientific studies and the most casual viewing yields the same conclusion: Women are shown almost exclusively as housewives or sex objects. The housewife, pathologically obsessed by cleanliness and lemon-fresh scents, debates cleaning products and worries about her husband's “ring around the collar.”” (Kilbourne 122) The repetitiveness of this message in ads not only doesn't match the average modern household but limit the role of a woman in society.

Kilbourne, Jean. "Beauty and the Beast of Advertising." Media & Values. N.p.: Winter, 1989. 121-25. Print.

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