Except, dear advertisers, it’s not only moms who do the laundry, shovel dishes into the dishwasher or, you know, fetch the kids from school. It’s not just mothers who wipe bums, worry about shirt stains or try balance the grocery budget. And if you’re still operating in a world that thinks that – you’re way behind.
As gender equality has moved forward in the workplace, it has happened at home too. You’re far more likely to find mom and dad (and actually, the children too) tucking in with effort to keep their home clean and organised. The simple truth is – if you thought that Mom was the only one concerned about the laundry – you’re about fifty years behind in your thinking.
Oh and, by the way, single women also do their laundry – when was the last time you saw a laundry advert with a single woman or man as the subject? Think about it.
Old school isn’t relevant anymore
I grew up as a kid in the 80's in a conventional home that turned unconventional. As a young child, my dad would go off to work each day and my mother stayed home to take care of us and our home. Thanks to weird circumstances, that situation got flipped on its head as I got older – with my dad becoming the primary caregiver at home, and my mom going off each morning to work out of the home.
My father ran his own business from home. But the bulk of school to-and-fro ferrying, making sure I did my homework and the like was managed by him. It’s not just me who had that experience, and the population of dads who do the Dirty Work at Home is growing every day. Take a look next time you’re fetching your kid from school – it’s #notjustmoms who are picking up Thuli and Tracy after hockey practice.
But when will the world of advertising wake up to this change in the family dynamic? Take a look at this one, for example – it starts with “South African women”… so men don’t do laundry? Do single men all go to a laundromat and hope for the best? What do single women without children do? What about child-headed households? (And please, don’t tell me that's not a reality in SA, because I’ll make you sit down twice)
Before you berate me – I know. I’m not ignoring the advertisers and companies who are – at the least – making an effort to transcend the stereotypes. In fact, I applaud them. While many adverts run with men for whisky and women for washing powder, there are a few that buck the stereotype and switch it up sometimes. It’s sad that it’s seen as bucking the stereotype though, because it’s actually just reality reflected on our screens, finally.