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 Frisky.com 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 Jezebel.com says, “a troubling cocktail of gender stereotypes, and it’s a bit hard to decipher…”
So does Tide hate tomboys? Or, as Salon.com 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: