Frustration with the gender roles portrayed in ads for cleaning supplies is nothing new — with a few notable exceptions, women are cast as cardigan-wearing overlords of all things tidy, while men are depicted as bumbling oafs who can’t tell a vacuum from a garbage disposal.
While most of us roll our eyes at these outdated stereotypes, every once in a while an ad comes along that inspires more ire than eye-rolling. A recent campaign for Swiffer has done just that, leaving parent company Procter & Gamble scrambling to make amends.
The modern American woman wears many hats — including the one labeled “primary breadwinner” in 40% of US households — so it comes as no surprise to us that Swiffer’s domesticated reinvention of Rosie the Riveter, a character created to urge women to join the workforce during World War II, has caused something of an uproar.
While Rosie’s catch phrase “we can do it” originally referred to holding down a job in a man’s world while keeping up with family life and other responsibilities, Swiffer’s reinvention leaves us imagining that “it” now refers to mopping the floor to a sparkling clean — somehow, not quite as inspiring. Read more