Should I clean or should I do something else…

11 Jan

I was down with flu and really, really didn’t feel like moving a single muscle. I lay on a sofa, full of self-pity, a remote control in my hand, checking what was on. I found a movie that I would not normally watch, but circumstances given, I decided to give it a go. It wouldn’t kill me or it might but that was what I prayed for anyway – to be spared of suffering.

Every good TV has commercials on regularly, right? I always manage to avoid them. Buy this, buy that, you are not good enough if you don’t have this and that and those, buy, buy, buy, spend, spend, spend. My state of mind didn’t allow me to stand up and run for my life this time. Advert after advert, I was dying but then there was The One that managed to bring me back to life. I was shouting at the screen in my husky voice until a fit of cough overtook me and brought tears to my eyes. A washing-up liquid ad. There was a lady standing in front of the sink, with the bottle of washing-up liquid in her hand and her daughter next to her. She was saying something like ‘I hardly ever have to buy whatever-the-name-of-the-washing-up-liquid-was-I-am-not-going-to-sit-in-front-of-TV-just-to-find-out’. She said this several times while her surroundings, her clothes and her hairstyle were changing according to different decades of 20th century. I think it started in the 1950s, with the last scene set in the present.

So, according to this piece of advertising, there has not been any change in a life of a modern married woman. Why I am saying married, a husband was not mentioned. I just assume she was. I am expected to do that, it is called stereotyping – the pattern that has been used in this advert. It basically said that it is a woman’s job to clean, shop and take care of children. You may contradict me, one commercial can’t say that much. I say it can. It is a tool of educating masses about the modern world. It tells us how to live, what we should want, what we need. Our lifestyles are influenced by them.

Between 1950s and nowadays there may be a slight difference – back then a lot of women may have been housewives and stay-home mums, today we go out earning our wages. So, if living with a partner, should housework be shared? I think yes but I wanted to know what the rest of the world thinks. I have checked a study from the beginning of this century (twenty-first, aye) and surprisingly, wives can do up to 13 hours a week more of household duties than their husbands. I wonder how else a poor woman could spend that time. She could read a book, go for a walk, meet up with her friends, play piano, play computer games, write a book and so on, if only there was that person she married to help her with tedious repetitive tasks that have to be done.

You may have heard some men shouting that they won’t open door for us because we wanted equality. Fine, don’t open them but do the dishes every day and clean the bathroom every week, whether you live with your mum or your partner.

We need to stop stereotyping on television, which is the first and foremost cognitive activity for many people. The message is unconsciously taken in because people in marketing successfully use psychological methods to influence our thinking. If it didn’t work, there would not be advertisement and we all know that BIG money is spend on it. I propose, let’s put a man next to that woman and the child in front of the sink and have them both say together ‘We hardly ever have to buy whatever-the-name-of-the-washing-up-liquid-is.’ I think that would be a first step to a critical thinking revolution.

Link of interest:

http://www.soc.washington.edu/users/brines/leewaite.pdf

http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2012/06/14/battle-over-housework-breeds-stress/

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