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October 24, 2009

Stupid Sexist Swiffer!

We've all seen those annoying Swiffer commercials in which a mop or broom or duster just can't get over being replaced by a Swiffer product...










So here's a mini-guest blog from my 9-year-old daughter. (The title was her idea.) She really doesn't like those commercials...

Dear Swiffer,

I think your commercials are totally sexist. There is no good reason why in all your commercials there is a girl cleaning the house with Swiffer. Why are there only women doing the cleaning? It makes just as much sense that a man would be doing the cleaning of the house. Yes, some women do housecleaning, but some women don't. And it's not the only thing that women can do.

In your next commercial I think you should have a man doing the cleaning. The mop or broom can sing the song "Come Back To Me" by Vanessa Hudgens. (I'm not saying that you should actually do that song, because they might not be able to get permission to use it.) It would just be nice to see the genders reversed and have a girl mop singing to a guy using a Swiffer.

It's also pretty creepy that the joke of the commercials is that your mop or broom are following you around. They're kind of stalking you. Why would anybody want that? Imagine if it was your ex-boyfriend or girlfriend doing that? Would you want that to happen? I dont think so. It's not funny, it's scary. It happens to real people and it's not good to make a joke about something serious that happens to real people, just so you can sell a stupid Swiffer.

Her very first guest blog about sexism in the media... I'm so proud!

23 comments:

Rosemary said...

Great post, well written. I agree 100%.

Professor Chaos said...

Your daughter is Awesome! I can't imagine how proud you must be.

BookishPenguin said...

That's really awesome. Great response! I wholeheartedly agree.

CrankyGeezer said...

Hear, hear. As a guy who does his fair share of the housework (right now meaning all of it as the spouse is ill), it irks me when men are either left out entirely or portrayed as helpless in domestic situations. OTOH, the stove commercial where Dad gets overly excited about the new appliance and puts together a huge feast when his kids just wanted pancakes was amusing.

dcardona said...

Great post!

Anonymous said...

Great post, especially because your daughter had the insight to question why stalking is portrayed as not only "funny" but also as if it is a normal part of any breakup (whether with a boyfriend or a broom...?). It's not funny, it's scary and dangerous. Maybe it sounds like I'm being uptight, but that's always bugged me about those commercials. I find the combination of stereotypes, all packed into a few seconds of a TV ad, to be what's scary. Women are both (a) enjoying housecleaning as their womanly duty; and (b) simply amusedly shaking their heads at creepy stalking behaviour, as if is natural and normal.

C.K. said...

I completely agree and I love the title of this post. Your daughter rocks!

AlwaysArousedGirl said...

Budding Feminist WIN. Great post and I couldn't agree with her more. I abhor those commercials.

emily said...

I am SO glad I'm not the only one that felt that way! :D Your daughter rocks.

Benjamin Geiger said...

I agree with the first half (swap genders next time) but not the second (stalking isn't necessarily unfunny).

dz said...

Great post. Awesome to hear from someone so oung!

Lilith said...

Stalking may be funny to some, but it's certainly not funny to the people who are being stalked (and often, in association, threatened). Also, some of the commercials take it way too far... sending flowers, okay, fine. Showing up uninvited in the hot tub? Creepy.

Jay Sennett said...

I agree with you and thinks it's great that you are comfortable calling those ads sexist, which is what they are.

I also appreciate that you mentioned the creepy nature of the stalking mop.

Keep up the great work.

Jay

meloukhia said...

Heh, that was my exact response to these ads. They creep me out no end.

StacieMichelle said...

Great letter to Swiffer from an observant, insightful smart young thing! Nice to see!

I know in my house - I rarely touch the Swiffer - my husband is the only one that uses it, as well as the vac, the windex, the mop...oh dear, maybe I'm not helping out enough around the house?

foxdragon415 said...

Swiffer does have commercials with men doing the cleaning, just not in this particular series.

shpelly said...

OMG, I thought I was the only one seriously ANNOYED at these sexist, ignorant commercials. I am so sick of every cleaning, child care, household-chore commercial featuring women "happily" washing clothes, changing diapers and/or scrubbing floors and dirty toilets. As though thats what satisfies us in life. In what year do we live? And why isn't there more outrage on this? It's equally insulting to many men who understand that it's not a woman's job to clean - it's everyone's job and they therefore do their fair share. These companies need to get with the program - but we as consumers need to make them aware that we will boycott any and all products that feature women (primarily) in sub-servient roles such as house-cleaning and child care.

Anonymous said...

Are you kidding? The fact that the swiffer user is played by a girl has nothing to do with sexism. The reason is that females around that age are swiffer's target audience.
I do not see you complaining that the person doing the mopping is never old (so is that discriminating by age?) or the fact that the person cleaning is never disabled (wouldn't that be discriminating against disabled people?)
While I do not believe with flat out sexism, I have no problem with the commercials. Now please stop pretending that the world is full of sexists, and deal with a real example of sexism, like this example...
This is a follow up commercial to one where the wife gets angered at the fact that her husband looked at a girl in a bikini (fair enough) and sabotages his drink
What happens is that the wife now looks at a really fit male, so the husband gets angered. He secretly shakes her unopened beer...but then she opens and drinks his instead, getting away with something the male could not. That is sexism, when an the opposite sex cannot do something without coming under fire, that the first sex can do.

Lilith said...

LOL... Anonymous, are you kidding? You're questioning a 9-year-old why they didn't complain about age discrimination? She's nine. Anyone over 20 is "old" to her.

You don't have to agree with her on the sexism aspect, although a lot of people do feel that it's an unfair generalization to assume that only women do housework. Even you made that assumption - why are women that age the primary target audience? Why do we only market cleaning supplies to women? (And will women only buy products that are advertised by showing other women use them? As if watching a man mop the floor occasionally would somehow hurt sales?)

Yes, it's true that women more often get stuck with the housework, but whose fault is that? Isn't is possible that it's because our society socializes our sons and daughters to believe that it is "women's work". That is sexist. Swiffer didn't create that, but they certainly perpetuate it.

I haven't seen the commercials you describe (and I'll assume that Li' Lilith hasn't either), but yes, they sound sexist too. As are all the other doofy husband commercials. So? By pointing out one form of sexism, we're not suggesting that the other forms are OK. Is it my 9-year-old's responsibility to take on every messed up commercial ever created, even those she hasn't seen? (If you need that explained you can read this.)

Anonymous said...

Inasmuch as I loathe those stupid Swiffer commercials more each day, it is in fact just that. A stupid senseless commercial. Everyone is reading waaaaay too much into it.

Lilith said...

Yeah, who cares about that pesky sexism and portrayal of stalking as funny... what a waste of time worrying my pretty little head about it. Yeah, it just stupid and senseless and doesn't at all reinforce outdated stereotypes or dangerous misconceptions about dating and safety.

Sorry, but someone has to "read too much into" the "stupid senseless" bullshit or it won't ever go away.

jfer said...

I like your post. It provokes some thoughts for me.

I think people sometimes DO feel good when they know they are wanted by someone (thing) that they no longer want.

I totally agree that these ads are incredibly sexist. The woman was (and is) obsessing over her relationships (that's why only women cleaning, we are focused on her obsession)This female obsession with relationships is a perpetuated sexist sex-role typing behavior that I fear is so embedded in American culture that we will never remove it completely, we will continue to perpetuate it.

Klumzee said...

has anyone seen the new Swiffer commercial? Talk about sexist! The two girls are on the floor, pretending to be stains, and wishing that they could find 'the one.' 'The one' happens to be (you guessed it!) the Swiffer mop! Then one lady runs to the mop and hugs it. Might I add that this lady is about, the size of a dust mite? Therefore she's hugging the bottom of the mop and while hugging it, she makes a comment about the mop being a 'Pick-up artist.' None of the commercials has ever gotten on my nerves more than this particular one. I'm not sure when it first aired, but I'm thinking the beginning of 2011. This is the most RIDICULOUS commercial out there! It screams that all women are simply 'waiting for that one special pick up artist.' Sorry, but this commercial is out of line. Someone care to complain and get it REMOVED?