This is a Mr. Clean advertisement made by Procter & Gamble in 2011.
It depicts a mother and a daughter cleaning some surface with a sponge. The caption says “This Mother’s day, Get Back To The Job That Really Matters.” It can be assumed that the message is being spoken to women only because there is no father or son in the picture. Some may find this offensive as it reinforces the gender role stereotype that household work should be done by women. Mentioning Mother’s Day exacerbates the problem as it is implying that women, especially mothers, should not be free from household work even on the day where mothers are celebrated and honoured. The smiles on the faces of the mother and the daughter seem to suggest that women genuinely like cleaning. This can further insinuate that cleaning is women’s work because they enjoy it.
The ad also features Mr. Clean, a muscular man wearing a white shirt. He is the mascot for a company that sells cleaning products. So, it makes sense that he is wearing white as the color is often associated cleanness and purity.
Jammed Version of the Ad
The new ad features an entire family consisting of a father, mother, son, and daughter cleaning together instead of just a mother and daughter. Only this was changed.
No change was made to the caption because the caption itself was not the source of the problem. One may find the message that you should clean on Mother’s Day odd, but they should not find it insulting. The message was offensive because it was being addressed to only women. If it is delivered to the general public instead of just women, it no longer becomes offensive because the premise that one group or gender should behave a certain a way is gone. Therefore, the recipient of the message was changed from women to families by replacing the photo.
If the photo of the mother and daughter is replaced with a picture of a father and son, it could also become problematic, as it can insinuate that normally women, particularly mothers, should be doing all the household work but on Mother’s Day, men should give them a special treat by doing some chores. So, the mother and daughter was purposely replaced with a mixed-gender family.
Procter & Gamble. (2011). [Advertisement for Mr. Clean Magic Eraser] Retrieved June 24, 2018, from https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/800/0*xxNLfSCFahkrcW86.jpg
Family Cleaning House. [Photograph]. Retrieved June 24, 2018, from https://previews.123rf.com/images/lenanichizhenova/lenanichizhenova1704/lenanichizhenova170402187/77080216-family-cleaning-house.jpg