Ad Analysis Of The Stereotypes Of The Ariel Ad

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Today, stereotypes are placed on specific genders, some negative and some positive. These stereotypes are placed because in our society today, we believe that in a nuclear family women stay home and men work.“For nuclear families, the male is the primary wage earner and the female is the primary homemaker” (Gender in Communications 141). This is a huge problem because it creates inequality of gender norms between men and women. The Ariel ad “#Sharetheload,” displays how a nuclear family and gender norms interplay, however shows us that commodity feminism is used to persuade us to connect with the emotions of the characters than the brand itself.

The brand I choose to critique, is a laundry detergent brand based in India called Ariel. Their main purpose is to “help people to renew their clothes and the stories that they tell” (Ariel.co). The ad titled “#Sharetheload” was published in February 2016 in India. This empowering detergent ad from India, dives in on one of the big challenges faced by women all over the world. Being able to balance the demands of raising a family while maintaining a successful career job. That the idea that a nuclear family gender norms, force the women of the family to be held responsible for domestic labor. The ad is clearly targeting women, in doing so they are trying to persuade women to feel empowered by proving the point that. Men should be responsible and share domestic labor.

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In the Ariel ad, the setting is in a urban household. The father watches his own daughter come back from a long day at work. When the mother gets home she greets her son, does the laundry, makes her husband tea, starts to cook dinner, answers work calls, sends emails, and then cleans up the toys. While she is doing all the domestic labor in the house she still has a smile on her face. While she is doing all the chores, the daughters husband is sitting on the couch watching TV eating. While this is all happening the father (grandfather) of the daughter is watching everything. While he is watching and observing he is a writing a letter to his daughter. In that letter he says, “I am so proud….and I am so sorry, I never told you that it's not your job alone. But your husbands too” (Youtube). The father (grandfather) apologizes for not setting the example to his daughter and not explaining to her at a young age that a man's responsibility is to help the wife with domestic labor. The ad finishes with the question asking? “Why is laundry only a woman's job? Dads #Sharetheload” (Youtube). The ad challenges India’s traditional patriarchal society. The father writing the letter and apologizing to his daughter shows true masculinity and understanding of equal gender norms in a nuclear family.

The main argument that I want to address is the idea that the Ariel ad, uses the gendered stereotype on women, that all women only do the domestic labor at home. Therefore sets a negative gender stereotypes on men, to persuade the audience that all men don't take act in domestic labor at home. The Ariel ad uses commodity feminism to make the audience specifically women, feel empowered. Mothers in a nuclear family are praised for working at their workplace and also doing domestic labor at home. In the Western culture, it is seen as normal for the father to not be responsible for the domestic labor at home. I believe that, that gendered social norm is wrong, that men are not held responsible for the domestic labor at home. Most men feel like it is not masculine for a man to do household chores. Household chores are looked as feminin jobs, therefore the gender norm of household chores is placed on women. “This does not mean they denied their masculinity but rather were redefining their masculine identities, placing more priority on their family life and seeking a balance between work and family” (Johansson 158).

Engaged fatherhood includes the idea of performing domestic labor. Being able to “redefine their masculine identities” is so important. Part of being a father and a man is being able to reshape their masculine identity and gender norm, of domestic labor being only a female's job. In the ad, the husband is seen sitting on the couch not doing anything while the wife is cleaning and cooking. Portraying that men are lazy and therefore only rely on women to do all domestic labor. However times are changing and men today are learning to reshape their own “masculine identity.”

For example in the ad, the father (grandfather) of the daughter writes in a letter to the daughter saying, “I am so proud….and I am so sorry, I never told you that it's not your job alone. But your husbands too” (Youtube). The father of the daughter is watching his daughter who is working, cooking, and cleaning. He Realizes that a real man should be held responsible for the domestic labor in any family. “Work is something virtually every person does, whether it is paid or unpaid” (Gender in Coms 200). The father realizes that growing up, he did not help with domestic labor and was not responsible, therefore apologizing to his daughter. Hoping that stereotype gender norms would change, and that her husband someday would help with the domestic labor in the house.

All in all, the Ariel ad titled “#Sharetheload” uses commodity feminism to depict the idea of stereotyped social norms on specific genders. It uses that idea because it is trying to bring those ideas into the light, trying to change those specific stereotyped gender norms. Yes, the ad is powerful and is full of meaning. However if you really like think about the ad, it may seem like it is trying to change the stereotype social norms on specific genders. But all that ad wants you to do, is to buy the brand. The ad doesn't care if you make the change on stereotyped gender norms, what they really care about is if you end up buying the Ariel detergent. That is what commodity feminism is all about. 

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