Battlepanda: The faux-empowerment of labor-saving gadgets


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Friday, February 03, 2006

The faux-empowerment of labor-saving gadgets

This discussion reminds me of an ad for paper towels I fume over whenever it is on. We see a mom minding her own business, washing dishes at the sink I think, when her son opens a bottle of soda and accidentally sprayed soda all over mom. The mom looked like she was going to get mad for a while, but then she turned around and had a water-fight with the boy instead, spraying him with water from the pull out hose attachment while her son shook up the soda some more and sprayed her back. A good time was had by all, and the commercial ends with the Mom wiping the son's face with a big, thirsty paper towel.

I hate the unspoken implication in this ad that to be a cool mom, one should not demand that one's children act reponsibly. One needs to cut loose and have fun and not bitch when taking care of the mess afterwards, because that would just cramp everybody elses style. It would have been a different commercial entirely (though still silly) if both the boy and the mom cleaned up together. Instead, it's made very clear that cleaning up is Mom's job -- the boy couldn't even clean himself. Same with the faux-empowering dishwasher commercial where a woman say "I am not a dishwasher". If it weren't for the fact that she is rescued by the super-powerful dishwashing additive, obviously, she should be the one hunched over the sink after meals all the time. It seems that there is a great market for selling devices that reduces a woman's drudgery, but only after you convince her that she is a drudge first.