Social Construction Exercise: Swiffer Broom & Mop

5 Oct

Modern Print Ad<———————–>Vintage Print Ad

I choose Swiffer Products because they are marketed towards the female consumer.  The Swiffer models itself a modern-day mop or broom, but  their ads display a very old fashion viewpoint. This image of a woman & in this case also a mother proudly holding up her Swiffer “Wet Jet” Mop & proclaiming how “Both floors were clean before he was”  is clearly a sexist & outdated form of advertisement. Every commercial & ad featuring their products has a woman proudly cleaning “her” kitchen, as if she is she is taking take her “rightful place” as housewife. There ads are reminiscent of the Hoover vacuum as print ads of the 50s & 60s (like the one shown above), displaying sexist images of housewives cleaning, while their approving husbands are at their jobs where they supposedly “belong”.  Although the product is slightly different &  the apron has been replaced by pants, the message is painfully similar.

Men are never shown using or cleaning their homes, indicating that housework is “woman’s” work .   It is a reminder to women that housework is their responsibility & not the man’s.  Men are never shown or thought of doing the cleaning, cooking or child rearing in modern-day society.  The image of a staying home wife or mother, cleaning up after her children (as shown) or their husbands, while the men “bring home the bacon” is as old advertising itself. The Idea that women loves to clean or even love their cleaning products is prominently shown. Another example of the commercial featuring a woman “Breaking–up” with her mop or broom for the more valued Swiffer product is often featured on television today. Yet no one seems to question or challenge them. Not a single one ads mentions a husband, partner, or other adult who might have some role in keeping a house clean. Or, for that matter, in this case, making the children clean up after themselves.

To summarize, I would definitely say that advertisements such as this & other forms of media including television, newspapers and radio are a huge part of reinforcing gender stereotypes in our society. Though it may be argued that this product in particular do in fact target women, recent ads such as this one featuring the idea that a woman’s companion being household cleaning product can be considered sexist. Men are rarely  presented in media in what is considered “feminine” a role.

By: Chantell Walton

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