GRSJ 300 98A: Culture Jamming Assignment

Frigidaire’s Innovative Stove

For my culture jamming assignment, I chose a commercial ad of Frigidaire back in 2012 featuring its new stove. The main goal of the ad is to show the innovative changes of stoves over the years. It compares the features of the first compact electric range stove from the 1950 to Frigidaire’s new Range with Symmetry Double Ovens in 2012. On the left, is a woman from the 50’s in her kitchen, checking in on her dish. While on the right, is a 20thcentury woman in her kitchen as well, and similarly, checking her dish. Significantly, in this ad, they also highlight Frigidaire’s history as a company by adding their active years spread across at the bottom, starting from 1918 to 2012. A quick Wikipedia check did confirm that Frigidaire was founded in 1918 as stated. By 2012, Frigidaire has been established for 94 years, and 100 years old by today (2018). From this data, it shows that Frigidaire has been a company for a long time, have adequate experience in marketing, and surely have witnessed the immense changes in gender norms over the years. Thus, I would like to address the way the ad generalized women or mothers to still be in the kitchen 94 years later. For an ad that is claiming to be innovative, they have pictured women in such an orthodox way.

In my version of the ad I changed the line they used from ‘continues with the range that can cook a variety of dishes at once to ‘and yet [continues with] the traditional notion that women belong in the kitchen and men does not step foot in the kitchen at all.’ Rather than highlighting the stove, I focused in on the ad’s discriminating tendency towards women and men. I perceive this ad to be problematic in regard to perspective of women of today. It is understandable that women are deduced to be in the kitchen back in the 1950s, however this is not the case at all in 2012. The 1950s is a long time from 2012, and since then there has been tremendous improvement with women’s right, women are not enclosed in the confines of a kitchen anymore. A modernized version of the 1950s does not equalize to the changes that has occurred over 90 years and it must be recognized, especially in ads that will be massed produced globally.

In addition to this, in my opinion, it is important to mention men in these kinds of ads. There are many men who excels in cooking, or husbands who takes the homemaker role. They, themselves, could be interested in what a new stove can offer. It is now the 20thcentury and gender roles, for the most part, have been squashed. For a company that’s been standing for almost a hundred years, Frigidaire could have done a better job with this advertisement. Perhaps having a restaurant kitchen with chefs, or simply a family in the kitchen, helping each other in making a home cooked meal. Instead, they put a woman who’s goal only seems to be preparing an entire meal at the same time, as the ad’s subtext in black implies. They could have used ‘Our innovations continue with the range… so you can attend to other matters in life’ instead, or any tag line that highlights the productivity this new stove has to offer to busy working women and their family. There are many possibilities this ad could have been executed that would have not only shown innovative changes of stoves, but also the changes in gender norms that many men and women has fought for almost the same amount of time Frigidaire’s been a company for.