Tag Archives: #gender roles

Home Depot Commercial

Home Depot is typically seen as a man’s store, with tools and planks of wood to build the ultimate shed or whatever the heart desires.  Right? The commercial that Home Depot recently is airing is reinforcing the “Man’s Store” view that is already held a lot of the public.

In the Home Depot commercial, “Come Alive,” there are some ideologies at play.  One of the ideologies is the way a husband and wife should hold household duties.  The man is the strong, hard-working half while the woman is mainly there to decorate.  This ideological construct of gender roles while doing housework were constructed many years back, when the husband was the breadwinner and hard worker while the wife stayed home waiting for her husband to come back, probably with a meal on the table or had just cleaned the house.  These constructed gender roles depict how a typical American middle class couple should operate.

Some of the stereotypes in this commercial include the differences in the roles that the husband and wife play in the recreation of their yard.  The man is being shown handling the money while they are shopping in Home Depot.  Also, the man is shown looking up a lawn mower on his phone while in the store.  These enforce the male stereotypes of being the head of the household, who handles all the finances.  Also, the husband is looking at machinery to purchase, which reinforces that men are the ones who are supposed to handle tools.  The wife is shown at the store picking out the flowers. This reinforces the women gardener stereotype, in which all wives are supposed to garden in their yards to make their homes look pretty.  Also, the store clerk who is selling the woman flowers is also a woman.  This enforces that stereotype even more, in that even the people selling the flowers at a store like Home Depot, are women.  While they are doing the yard work at their home, the man is showed doing majority of the work, including the lawn mowing, weed whacking, administering pesticides, as well as the heavy lifting involved in yard work.  The woman is shows for about 2 seconds after she is done gardening, and she looks completely clean and somewhat satisfied.  These acts in the commercial reinforce the stereotypes of the typical husband and wife, in which the man does the work and the women sits there looking pretty, after making the house look pretty.

The couple in this commercial seems to be a mixed, minority-race couple.  However, there did not seem to be any stereotypes of minority races in this commercial.  One could argue that the minority couple was depicted as having middle class wealth, since they are doing their own yard work.

The consequence of the above roles, that the commercial created for the husband and wife, is that it reinforces the gender stereotypes of husband and wife housework; the husband is the responsible, hard-working, money-bearing half of the relationship while the wife is there to look good and make their home look good.  These stereotypes are harmful to married couples, especially for the woman in the relationship, who is seen barely contributing to the housework.



Dr. Pepper: not for women?


(Watch the ad before reading as to better understand what I’m talking about.)

As you can tell from the ad, Dr. Pepper’s creative team seemed to not understand what they we really portraying. First off, it created this “ideal man” that was supposed to be what every man should be and act like. This action-adventure manly man is shooting guns and fighting ninjas, just like the average man would do obviously. This overhyped action-adventure extravaganza portrays men in a light of being these violent and senseless animals.

This ad doesn’t only generalize men but women as well. The man in the ad says, “This is our movie” generalizing that all men must love these action-adventure films but it also saying the women can’t enjoy those types of film. It generalizes women again when it goes on to say that women can “keep [their] romantic comedies and lady drinks to themselves.” This ad just overgeneralizes what men and women are. Men are these burly men that only like guns and violence while women are just fragile, weak romantics.

I understand what the ad is getting at; Dr. Pepper is a drink that is most commonly purchased by women. So, the company is trying to widen their consumers by specifically targeting men by creating an ad that a stereotypical man would enjoy. The funny thing is after this ad came out not only did sales from women drop but so did sales from men. This ad backfired and in the end tarnished Dr. Pepper’s name showing them as a sexist company.

Dr Pepper Buzz by Gender

After this huge fallout with this ad, Dr. Pepper ended up taking down this ad. Believe me, it took some searching to find that really poor quality version of the ad. Overall, this ad reinforces the gender roles we see in today’s society. It portrays what our society/the producers believe a man to be while also excluding women from their product and insulting both sexes.




How MTV’s “Girl Code” Reinforces Gender Roles/Stereotypes

When viewing any/all programming from MTV, it’s almost a given that you will undoubtedly run into something that makes an effort to “push the envelope”. This is seen on MTV in a variety of ways stemming from how our culture craves the need for promiscuity, drama, and controversy. Of all of MTV’s robust examples programming  to choose from, Girl Code really stood apart from the rest in how it has (somewhat) good intentions from its creation, only to ultimately get in its own way and fall flat. As a spin-off from the less successful Guy Code, this show aimed to “open the dialogue about the wonders and woes of womanhood” as MTV described it. The show centers around 3-4 topics of discussion each episode, as a slew of comedians we’ve never heard of give their take on these “topics”. Why the quotes? Well the topics in question are merely age-old gender-confined tropes that are only reinforced again and again. We see the classic reinforcement of how young woman are supposed to act, think, behave, and ultimately feel. There are also scenarios that add to commonplace stereotypes, such as: tips on what to do in a heterosexual relationship, dealing with pregnancy scares, getting dumped, the notion that all guys care about are food, video games and porn, and the perception that all girls like sleepovers, to name a few.

The above clip centers around weight gain, and all of the negative backlash that comes with it. We see an overall negative stigma around weight gain, and the idea that women have to be thin to be considered attractive. The comments made by the guests are sometimes going against social norms I will admit, but in terms of the overall message of the show, the ideology behind it still manages to reinforces the norm.  The Parents television Council had this to say about Girl Code, “it is a series which degrades young women by teaching them that they are valued only for their looks, and that servicing men sexually is their purpose in life.” The quote may seem a bit extreme at first, but after watching a few episodes it’s hard to argue. While yes, the goal is to open a dialogue about these topics is done in a successful manner, via the integration of social media, is it something that is hurting or helping young women?

The heavy use and references to popular social media go a long way in how it has managed to connect with its audience. The show has a huge presence on the micro-blogging site, Tumblr and over 854,099 followers on Twitter. The show’s stars take this a step further and often live-tweet the show and create unique hashtags, and retweet the best responses from the public. While highly successful, the messages the show provides give a good arugment to the idea of post-feminism. The women of the show have all of the agency in terms of what they say, and their opinions on subjects, but what they actually end up saying is merely a rehashing of stereotypical social norms, unbeknownst to them or not. This is more an operation of the hegemonic ideology and less about the individuals agency. What is considered common sense to these speakers really isn’t anything more than a clear demonstration of the masculine power that still exists. The show’s stars are the agents of there own oppression. The show speaks to female empowerment, but at the same time argues about what it takes to look and feel attractive in order to attract the opposite sex. Evidence can be seen in a segment around the female genitalia, when regular Carly Aquilino says, “A vagina is something every girl has, THAT YOU LET A LOT OF PEOPLE IN”, as we see a cartoon illustrate this point with the following image:


The image above tells viewers everything they have to know about MTV’s attitude toward women. “Rampant promotion of sexual promiscuity, without concern for consequences or potential problems…standard procedure for MTV”, says the Parent Television Council. The show does aim to be sarcastic and funny, but even the jokes themselves are disjointed and the “advice” given to the audience is so obvious that we are left wondering what the actual message behind the segment was.

The Feminist movement itself is an intellectual, conscious raising movement to get peole to understand that gender is an organizing principle of life. The belief is that women and men should be accorded equal opportunities and respect, but having shows that segregate the genders while reinforces certain masculine stereotypes to a younger audience goes directly against that goal.