Dear P&G: I don’t need a sponsor, thanks.


Sometimes, I think feminists shouldn't watch telly.

There's just too much that makes us shout and grumble and despair of the world.

Lately, the shouting and grumbling and despairing has been flung in the direction of a new ad campaign being run by P&G, which has announced that it is sponsoring Moms/Mums (depending which side of the Atlantic your TV comes from). 

I'm not sure what my being sponsored by P&G brings me, exactly. Certainly, nobody has sent me a t-shirt or a branded pen, quite yet. And I'm fairly confident that Gil Scott-Heron would tell us that Motherhood will not be televised. 

Still, according to the advert, as a Mum, P&G wants to help me to help my family. To this end, the ad shows me a series of P&G products like nappies and laundry powder and men's razor blades and says if I buy these products, I am celebrating being a Mum, and, erm, I might win some tickets to the Olympics. Or something. 

I think the ad is supposed to be positive and moving, but it just moves me to positive apoplexy. And that was before I read the reasoning behind the campaign over on the P&G website: 

“Our products have been designed through generations to improve mum’s life in small but meaningful ways. Whether it’s household favourites like Ariel or Fairy that help to make everyday tasks a little easier for Mum; or the Pampers nappy that mum trusts for her little one; or the Olay cream or Max Factor mascara she uses every day to help her look and feel her best; this is our business – and they are our boss.”

I have a slight profanity filter on this blog so I'll spare you what I really think when I read this kind of stuff. I'll just say… it's 2011, right? 

Because in my world, in 2011, most women don't tend to consider it their lot in life to do laundry, change nappies, go shopping and then make themselves pretty in time for the hubby getting home. Sometimes – hold back your gasps, ladies – men can be equally involved in this kind of domestic activity. I've even heard that sometimes men buy groceries. Wowzers. 

I know that P&G is far, far from being the only company to fall back on lazy gender stereotypes in advertising. But when you do this, AND you claim to represent me – well, it bothers me. Or am I missing something? 

If you're interested in sharing views on feminism and parenting, then do check out Melaina's Feminist Friday carnival, which this week looks at gender role models. 


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