The original ad is highlighting a LG refrigerator sold in North America in 2014. To provide some context to the image, the advertisement begins with a son and a mother in the kitchen and the son is blankly staring at an open refrigerator, unable to understand how to access the food inside. It is not until his mother intervenes and shows him the mechanism in the door and he’s eventually able to get what he wants. Moments later we see the exact same situation with the boy’s father, and at this moment the words “the apple doesn’t fall from the tree” are shown on the screen. The image above captures the aforementioned moment which portrays both genders in a negative light.
LG heavily plays on two stereotypes through the portrayal of this advertisement. The first, using the role of the knowledgeable mother juxtaposed against the clueless father to highlight the product. The mother is well-versed in the appliance, yet it is important to question whether LG would have used the mother in the same all-knowing role to sell another product located in a different part of the household. Would the roles be the same if LG was selling a TV? The second use of gender stereotypes is seen with the role of the father and son. Both are unfamiliar with how to operate the simple machinery of the refrigerator. Not only does this reinforce the former stereotype, but also plays on how man has not intellectually grown since the primitive days. In a subtle way perhaps referring to the man as “caveman”. In addition to presenting that men are incompetent when it comes to activities in the house, and women are stereotyped as being “experts” in appliances, the role of the son also stereotypes younger generations. Not only is the son used to highlight the clueless male, but also to portray how millennial’s, and gen Z’er, are not self-sufficient, and rely on their parents to cater to their basic needs.
The image I chose to use as the culture jamming of the original advertisement is from the CBS website. I’ve chosen to add the caption “Helping households work together” as a point to emphasize the abandonment of traditional roles and importance of collaboration. The image portrays a man and woman, perhaps a couple, cooking a meal together. The image shows a shift in how individuals understand household roles. The perception that men are absent in the kitchen is dismissed as the man is standing next to the woman while they work together to prepare food. The overall aesthetics promote collaboration, connection and equality. The body language is also note-worthy, as the man and woman stand shoulder to shoulder, smiling and looking in the same direction. This reinforces the idea of working together in a cohesive manner, in the efforts to build and/or create, as opposed to working apart. Images like this are rare in mainstream media, which more than often plays to gender stereotypes. Even in advertisements centered in or around the house, the woman is often seen in the kitchen, doing laundry or picking up after the kids, whereas the man is typically placed in the garage or out on the lawn. This further creates a divide, and submits to the already preconceived notion of gender roles. Visuals of collaboration in household tasks are vital to close the gap of gender inequality, particularly in a time where society is becoming more aware of the stigma associated with promoting traditional gender roles. Overall, I hope that my culture jam highlights an issue around how we portray both gender roles around the family household and allows us to criticize and incite change.