In yet another case of advertising gone wrong, a brand is selling washing machines which give your clothes a “motherly wash”. A few months ago, another brand had come under fire for trying to sell unisex washing machines. Now that “motherly wash” has hit the markets and our sensibilities, it makes you wonder why must ad makers resort to stereotyping to sell their product?
How low in confidence are you about your product if you have to use such tropes?
This so-called “motherly wash” is nothing but a six-step technique used by the said washing machine to clean clothes. And why is it called the motherly wash? Maybe the ad makers have come across some ancient text from the cult of motherhood, full of secret techniques to wash clothes. Or perhaps they think this process of cleaning gives you clothes as clean as apparently a wash from your mother could.
A motherly dhulai has an entirely different meaning for me, and I sincerely hope that the clothes don’t get treated with the kind of dhulai many of us received in our childhood from our mums.
When will gendering of household chores stop in advertisements
It isn’t a new thing to advertise products by propagating gender stereotypes. This new concept of “motherly wash” aims to reinforce the belief that only a mother knows how to best clean the clothes.
Indian fathers are apparently still stuck in the 90s, washing clothes is not part of their job profile.
Even if Indian dads want to get out of stereotyping, our ad makers wouldn’t allow them to. Indian men and women must spend their lives stuck in the archaic division of labour endorsed by our conservative society because our advertisers are too lazy to think outside the box. Don’t Indian men wash clothes today? Yes, they do. That too in washing machines, like any woman. I hardly think any modern-day mum spends her day frolicking in soap bubbles, gushing over her handiwork with her kid’s uniform.
- A leading brand in India is offering washing machines which give your clothes a “motherly wash.”
- This stereotypical approach to household chores is unfair to both women, and to men who help with household work.
- Did those who conceive this idea, also invent a time machine, and leave their sensibilities in the last millennium?
But such advertisers and brands wouldn’t have any of it. They must remind us mothers our place in the hierarchy. We are expected to be experts in bleaching and scrubbing. Probably tomorrow we will have a dishwasher advertised after our utensil cleaning skills. Or perhaps a microwave oven, which infuses cakes and cookies with “motherly” love along with heat.
Household appliance manufacturers and advertisers need to realise that such gimmicks will only backfire today.
We are all making active efforts to fight stereotypes. Even at home, parents nowadays live by example, to prove to their children that no job at home has a gender tag. Be it washing clothes, cleaning dishes, doing research or earning money. So why must a washing machine advertisement be allowed to put bias in anyone’s mind that clothes cannot be perfectly washed by anyone else but a mom?
Perhaps those who conceived the idea of “motherly wash” also invented a time machine and left their sensibilities in the previous millennium. They not only deserve backlash from consumers, but also a rebuttal from their clients. They must either learn to adapt to our new sensibilities or wash their brains in this washing machine to clean it of biased mentality.
Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.