Friday, February 24, 2006

Out, Out Damn Spot

It's been a while since I posted on this blog, and I feel a little silly ranting about what I'm about to rant about, but I'm all dressed and ready to go to the gym, so I need something to help me procrasinate.

The subject is washing machines--or more precisely the manufacturers of washing machines and the ads they run.

I've been seeing this one ad, from Whirlpool I think, that shows how washing machiens have evolved from crude boards to high-tech devices. The narration goes something like:

Laundry is nothing new.
Your mother did it.
Your grandmother did it.
Her mother did it
and so did her mother.

The remainder of the advert goes on to explain that though laundry is laundry, the machines to clean it have advanced and Whirlpool has been there every step of the way.

That's a fine sentiment, but it really creeped me out how old-fashioned and sexist it came off-- Women=Laundry. In my family, we all had household chores. As it turns out, it was my father who did the laundry (and thank god--the one time my mom tried, she shrunk my favorite shirt!). I know women predominantly do laundry, but the ad made it sound like females are biologically engineered to clean clothes. And that most women spend their days doing laundry, as opposed to working or climbing mountains or what have you.

They did include the disclaimer, "there may have been a man or two along the way" but that made it worse--as if a man doing laundry was some bizarre trick like a cat flushing the toilet.

In general, ads for househould products are among the most misogynistic Ive seen. We're to believe that American women stand at attention for hours with a can of Lysol in one hand and a ready-wipe in the other, just waiting for some microbe to land on the coffee table so they can clean it up. Something like half of all moms work outside the house, and those that dont are hardly waiting for dust bunnies to form under the sofa.

Whew, ok. Got that off my chest. Now to go work out.

And then do the laundry.


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