Cleaning and care product companies need to step up to the plate for commercials featuring men

by Sherry Stanczyk

The year is 2012, and it’s fair to believe that there has been social progress in regards to the equality of women since the past. Women have made strides in participating in the working world that was once dominated by men. In In this day and age it is not uncommon for the wife of the family to bring in just as much money as her husband, or in some cases even more. But behind all this progress, the fact remains that little has changed in regards to the gendered nature of ‘unpaid’ labour, such as childcare and house cleaning. Even though it is normal to now consider women family breadwinners, this gender inclusion does not extend to inside the home, where housekeeping and childcare are still primarily considered the jobs of women. The idea that women are still the primary home caretakers creates inequality; firstly as Erhenreich and Hochschild have illustrated in their article “Global Woman”, in the majority of middle and upper class Western households where the wife is unable to do the housework, instead of a division of labour between husband and wife, the house and child care duties are passed onto other women, typically paid maids from poorer countries. This creates situations where these migrant women, hidden away in households, are vulnerable and lack worker’s rights. Gendered housework also feeds into and sustains the existence of the glass ceiling; women are still not paid as highly as men because society still believes a women’s priorities are family, thus higher salaries, promotions, and job positions are usually given out to men. The gender divide of housework also creates an unfair situation for women who end up having to sacrifice either their career or family ambitions.

However, although not the majority, many men do participate in household and child care tasks. But the fact remains that society in many ways stigmatizes men who participate in cleaning and caretaking roles, as well as discourages men from taking part in the house and family. And nothing is upholding these norms more than the advertisements for cleaning and other household products. Advertising- as much as one would like to believe they are able to filter out- remains a powerful and strongly influential factor in dictating how we as a society believe and view what is both normal and desirable. And advertising for cleaning and household products almost never show men in their ads. These ads create the illusion and normalize the idea that cleaning and childcare are only and should only be done by women, while ‘real’ men take no part in housework. When ads for household products do feature men in their ads they typically showcase them as the housework-clueless and useless husband who need his wife to come to the rescue, or as the emasculated house-husband. (And although there is nothing wrong with a man who wants to play the traditional homemaker role while his wife wears the pants, showing it advertising still feeds into the idea that housework is ‘feminine’ and a woman’s job.)

There has been some change in advertiser’s thinking. For example, this year when Huggies created a series of diapers tv advertisements which featured incompetent fathers ignoring their baby’s dirty diapers in favor of ‘guy things’, such as a sports game on television, many real life fathers protested on Facebook, resulting in an official apology from Huggies and a new set of ads showing far more competent fathers. However, more companies need to step up to plate, and bring in some freshness and creativity to their advertising. I think we need to see more cleaning ads featuring normal, everyday fathers and men using their products. Although having more house care ads feature men isn’t going to magically fix the problem of gendered housework, it would be a step in the right direction. If we’ve come so far in social progress and ideas regarding gender roles, why are we still afraid to show that men can participate in household tasks too?

Women workers

by Natsumi Ichioka

In this society, it is said that all people are equal, but this is not always. There are still many problems for our truly equal life and society. Then, I consider about the better situation for the women’s workers in Japan. There are three points from the class discussion and my opinion.

First, from the class discussion, women who want to work are also hoping to raise their children. I think this is too greedy that women want to do both work and housework. But so many women want to do that if they are in good situation. Actually, I would like to work in near future and also make my family and raise my children by myself. But in present situation in Japan, women have to choose whether work or housework in the general company. Some companies have the child-care leave systems, but they are just apparent system in most company. I can say that there are still some kinds of women’s discriminations. Some companies have the label that women will quit the job because of the childcare. Actually women quit their job, but there is no choice in our society. So, all the companies have to make the child-care leave system. In addition, the companies have to make a good situation for all the people in order to people can take this system as one of the natural rights.

Secondly, I also think it is important to think about this system for all the people. It means not only for women but also men. There are so many situations in the family. If woman is in the important position like general manager, she have to come back soon in her position. Then, instead of woman, man takes the child-care system. Like this, we do not make the fixed idea like this system is for the women. It is important to think this system without fixed idea for the truly equal society.

Thirdly, man cannot substitute for woman in some points in present situation. In Japan, some people are still thinking that women have to work in the house and men work out. This case meets that women have to work more than men, because women are working in the house and in the company. It because that some men do not know how to do the housework and how to raise their children. I think it is important to change the education in the house. For not to rely on women too much, men also need to know how to do the housework and how to raise their children. In each family, all children need to know how to do some housework. It is not good to teach housework only for girl. I think the basic change in our family is needed. In this way, we will gradually change the social situation more equal one.

We need to change the basic ideas of gender in three points. It is not good to rely on one side. In the present situation, men and women cannot share the difficulties each other in Japan. If we can make an equal society, Japan will change better. In addition, Japanese society will change kinder one for all the children. For the truly equal society, now is our social reform.