Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Does Anybody Else Ever Find is Strange that, Despite the Last 50 Years Worth of Cultural Change, Modern "Household Product" Commercials Continue to Star a "Stay-at-home Mom" Role?

Whew. Sorry for the long title.

But yes. Am I the only one occasionally bothered by the continued "Stay-at-Home" mom role often portrayed in commercials?

Really, it's not so much that they're still portraying the whole "Stay at home mom" thing. That is okay. Obviously, that still exists, despite what this woman likes to think. I support stay-at-home mothers if that is what they choose to do. That said, I also support and acknowledge the existence of stay-at-home fathers, single parents (both mothers and fathers), and of course, gay and lesbian couples with children (gasp!). Oh, and though they are rarer (to my knowledge), there are polygamist families, even in the United States (also, they're probably not all Mormon families living in Utah).

However, right now, I'm not here to discuss the number of different types of families out there. Really, I'm asking a question to people in charge of advertising these common household products: People, why are you not updating your commercials? Even Television producers are way ahead of you all (and I'm not talking about anything airing on TLC).

Before I get accused of appearing ignorant, I'll take a moment to point out that I do understand more than it may seem at the moment.

  • Right now, I imagine that most people in control of this kind of thing are Baby Boomers. Here is (what I believe to be) a somewhat relevant XKCD Comic. (However, with SOPA blackouts, I can't actually check and make sure I'm linking to the right one.) Most Baby Boomers grew up in that environment - raised by a stay at home mother and with a working father.
  • Obviously, though I cite "Modern Family" as an example of this Other-Family Acceptance thing, I realize that this sort of thing is very recent, where it seems that, in the past, the mention of homosexuality was just that - mentioned. It seems most of these shows never actually "starred" a gay or lesbian person.
  • Homosexuality was considered a mental disease until 1973.
  • No matter what I say, somebody is going to see me as "ignorant."
Back to advertising. To this day, why do so many commercials selling household products work to appeal to moms? First off, doesn't everybody need some of these products? I am not a mother, but I'm pretty sure that I still need to clean my house every now and again. I haven't bought paper towels in ages, but I do find myself wishing I had some. Oh, and Kix Cereal - "Kid Tested, Mother Approved" - what about fathers, grandparents, adoptive parents, aunts, uncles, and older siblings? Sometimes other people, not just mothers, get stuck with the grocery shopping.

What about Bounty's above "Dance Cooking" commercial? What message is that trying to send? "My husband tried to tell me how to clean the house, but WHAT DOES HE KNOW BECAUSE HE DOESN'T CLEAN THE HOUSE?" What silly husband thinks that it takes three sheets of Bounty to clean up a mess, because it only takes one. Of course!

tl;dr: Advertisers, we're living in the 2012, which is culturally and socially much different from the 1950's. Isn't it time to consider updating your ads a little bit?

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