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Prissy Mom With Tomboy Daughter: Tide Commercial Misses The Mark [Video]

By Monica Bielanko |

Does Tide hate tomboys?

At first watch, I was supremely annoyed by a new Tide commercial that seems to imply that it sucks to be the mom of a tomboy.

However, on the second viewing I wondered if the commercial isn’t making fun of the prim and proper mother and her ridiculous ideal of “feminine”. We’re supposed to chuckle at her and sympathize with the daughter, right?

Either way, the stupid commercial is waking waves all over the Internet.

The folks over at think it’s worse than simple gender stereotyping.  In a post called Tide Thinks Your Daughter Is a Big Ol’ Lesbian Because She Likes To Play With Blocks, Jessica Wakeman says:

To me, the “Hoodies & Cargo Shorts” Tide ad is aimed at moms (the demographic most likely to buy Tide laundry detergent) with socially conservative/bigoted leanings who really would be concerned their daughter is a lesbian if she wasn’t a girly-girly Pinkalicious freak. Parents do start freaking out about gender norms — which dictate little girls like Disney Princess and little boys like building car parks with blocks — at this little girl’s age. Enforcing those gender norms at a young age are totally absurd, of course: I was a mega-tomboy up until 8th grade and now I’m as stereotypically feminine and heterosexual as they come. People are what they are. But hey, who cares about facts if it sells some detergent? I am sure Tide is penning the inevitable “We are so surprised, we didn’t mean to offend anyone!” statement as we speak.

Regardless of Tide’s intention, the commercial is, as Margaret Hartmann from says, “a troubling cocktail of gender stereotypes, and it’s a bit hard to decipher…”

So does Tide hate tomboys? Or, as wonders, “is the viewer supposed to identify with the kids, those free spirits who live a little? After all, this is the company that also recently gave us the mom who lies to her daughter about going clubbing in the kid’s shirt.”

I’m in agreement with Salon. Most likely, a bunch of clueless ad execs are throwing a crapload of stuff at a wall and hoping something sticks.

But hey, I’ll stop speculating and just let you watch the thing and judge for yourself. As Autostraddle reports, “there are so many stereotypes packed into one neat commercial package, it’s hard to know where to begin complaining, so I’ll turn it over to you”. And I’ll do just that:

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About Monica Bielanko


Monica Bielanko

Monica Bielanko was raised on the wild frontier of late 1970's Utah. She is a recovering Mormon who married the guitar player of an unknown band. She's been married to her Babble Voices writing partner, Serge Bielanko, for the past nine years. Her personal blog, The Girl Who was in the top ten of last year's Top 50 list. Read bio and latest posts → Read Monica's latest posts →

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7 thoughts on “Prissy Mom With Tomboy Daughter: Tide Commercial Misses The Mark [Video]

  1. Brandi says:

    I’m not sure what to make of that commerical. The mom seems like she’s on the verge of going crazy & the girl is dressed for hunting. Neither get my sympathy. Really, I think the commerical just falls flat.

  2. Meagan says:

    I don’t think it’s a great commercial, but reading homophobia into it strikes me as just looking offended. You could have this EXACT same commercial with a teenage daughter in punk rock clothes, or a little boy in superhero clothes… the “message” is just that the mother doesn’t like or understand how her kid dresses.

  3. Elizabeth says:

    I agree with Meagan. It’s not really funny or memorable, there’s nothing that pops about it, so it’s not a good commercial. But I don’t see homophobia at all.

  4. Rosana says:

    Wow, when I watched the commercial I thought that all the moms that often complain about their kids having a different personality to what they really want, would rejoice to see their feeling finally validated on TV. I never thought about homosexual behaviour from seeing a girl playing with blocks. I guess some moms have way more time than me, in their hands, to go crazy about a simple commercial.

  5. daria says:

    a mom who is stereotypically feminine is dismayed that her daughter wants to wear non-stereotypically feminine clothing, and then tells her daughter that she’s doing a good job building a non-stereotypically feminine block structure. the mother is speaking to the camera, almost apologizing for her daughter not fitting into her ideals, but is allowing her to play and wear what she wants. yes, not the ideal commercial, but far and away preferable to the typical laundry detergent commercials that (1) only feature mothers and (2) feature mothers whose only goal in life seems to be getting those darned stains out (which are invariably created by their rough and tumble boys). can we also please not equate sexuality with preferred clothing/toys? i thought we’d moved past that long ago.

  6. Teresa says:

    I just see it as an ex sorority girl type mom who probably had dreams of dancing around with her daughter in princess dresses. She was never a tomboy so maybe she isn’t sure how to handle her daughter and feels self conscious. She IS letting her daughter wear whatever she wants, and generally looks like she is trying to be supportive. The joke is on the sorority girl, not the tomboy anyway.

    Lighten up people. They only people stereotyping are the ones screaming STEREOTYPE! The rest of us are too busy to bother.

  7. Jackie says:

    Everyone is overthinking this. Ad companies have 30 seconds or less to be “edgy” and create a lasting impression. Sometimes its a hit and sometimes its a miss. The company I work for puts out new commercials each year. Every year, we seem to offend some group. We get letters from every group imaginable over commercials meant to be a joke. People are way too uptight.

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