Where did the idea of gender roles come from? What is it that defines what a man is and what a woman is? While the answers to these questions are ones that I may never know the answer to I have recently stumbled across one of the ways America has continued to plague women with ideas of what their role in society should be and how they should go about fulfilling those roles.
One morning while watching one of my favorite television shows, Still Standing, a sitcom about a middle aged family located in Chicago, I began to notice very distinct trends during the three commercial segments that aired. Each set of commercials catered to the stereotyped roles that women are expected to play.
The shows viewing audience is typically women aged 20-40. With this being determined the commercial demons have selected the 8:30 a.m. viewing of this show to unleash its sublimative messages that women should be organized, fashionable, protecting house moms that are there to tend every scrape and bruise that their children (which they all assumingly have) may come in contact with and all of this should be accomplished before a hearty Jimmy Deans breakfast is served.
With commercials airing for products such as Kool-Aid, Jell-o, All-State Wal-mart, Burlington Coat Factory and Capzasin the same theme of the woman’s traditional role were all reiterated. 16 commercials aired during the show and all 16 of those commercials related the ideal traditional roles of women, along with the five commercials for Lifetime, which reminded us viewers of why we like watching Lifetime so much.
One particular commercial which screamed HOUSE MOMS BE ALERT was the simple Honey Bunches of Oats commercial. The target audience for the cereal is men and women aged 17 to 50, however the advertising and marketing department over at Post is seemingly assuming that it is the job of women who are watching Still Standing at 8:30 a.m. to buy the groceries since they obviously don’t have jobs. While there are no overt gender biased stereotypes in this commercial like the ones that were visible during the Burlington Coat Factory commercial it is obvious why the people over at Post decided to air the commercial during the time that they did.
While the commercial that aired probably achieved its goal in informing potential house moms around the country that Honey Bunches of Oats is the healthy choice for their families.
View the commercial: