British supermarket chain Asda encourages customers to shop at their store by showing us the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, and enforcing the sexist stereotype of the frazzled do-it-all mom and her bumbler husband, who does nothing other than use his manly strength to position the Christmas tree. And ask for food. Because men are lazy and never help around the house and if it weren’t for Mom, there wouldn’t be Christmas. At all.
I know there are a lot of studies that show that the little lady of the house still does the majority of the housework, but it’s not true in many families, where both partners share the work equally. And what about single dad families? Are those fathers just incapable of cooking a turkey or trimming a tree? Oh my gosh you guys do single father families or families with two male parents just not celebrate the holidays because the men are just men, who simply can’t wrap gifts or stuff stockings or prepare a meal?
I guess that most ad agencies rely on the wayback machine to find their jokes, like they travel back to the 1950′s and get their material from old episodes of Leave It To Beaver where the lady cooked and cleaned and the man brought home the money. Because in the future, where we all live now, lots of men help with housework and holiday preparations. Didn’t these people ever see Clack Griswold getting ready for Christmas?
Our pals at Adweek sum it up nicely:
This sort of thing probably is sexist, both to women who don’t want to be seen as domestic workhorses forever and to men who want a little credit for competent parenting.
When watching the commercial, check out the moment when the exhausted mom takes a moment from serving her husband (he is too lazy to serve himself) holiday food (that she prepared herself) and she flops down on a freakin’ bean bag. What kind of mannerless dolt did she marry that wouldn’t offer her a seat at the table? And of course only women are shown during the washing up after dinner, because not only are men incapable of cooking, cleaning, decorating, wrapping and shopping, they also can’t wash a plate.
The zinger comes when Christmas lunch is finally over, and mom enters the family room with a glass of wine, exhausted but content with the cozy domestic scene before her (And yes, grandma is shown reading Fifty Shades of Grey, because the olds can be sexxxxxy too) and the bumbler husband asks “What’s for tea?” D’oh! Poor mom never gets a break!
Who are these bumbler men who never help around the house and who expect to be waited on hand and foot? I have never seen a person act this way, ever. I’m finding it very hard to believe that these men actually exist, and that women actually marry them. I’m not sure who started this joke or where it came from. Or why advertisers still feel that it’s relevant in this day and age. For me it would be around the point when the woman in the ad starts untangling the Christmas lights that I would lose my cool and demand my husband get off his lazy ass and help me, but in my world, my husband would have been the one dragging the lights up from the basement to begin with.
Moms work really hard making nice holidays for their families, but the majority of men do as well. If the target audience of this sexist Christmas ad is women with children than it’s time agencies realize that women with children, although we can relate to being frazzled around the holidays, also have men around us who can become just as frazzled, and who work just as hard trying to make the holiday season as magical and memorable for our families as well. It’s a disservice to everyone, men, women, and the children we are trying to raise, when ads do nothing but reinforce these stupid stereotypical gender roles that weren’t even that relevant in the wayback when used as a sitcom trope accompanied by canned audience laughter.