The New June Cleaver

July 17, 2013

June Cleaver was a professional housewife, ever happy to vacuum the living room in pearls and heels. Thank goodness we have left that model behind in the fifties. Or did we? Turn on your Television, and you are likely to see the “new June Cleaver”. She has traded her heels and pearls for khaki’s and a sweater set, but she is still the woman who wipes up her family’s messes with a smile on her face.

In fact, when I try to recall advertisements for cleaning products that feature men, all that comes to mind are advertisements for Mr. Clean, in which a man “saves” a woman from drudgery. Two terrible stereotypes for the price of one!

Many advertisers claim that they are simply focusing in on their target market. Indeed, women are still the primary buyers of household goods (Librarian Karen). Women also continue to do the bulk of domestic labor.

Except ads that feature women focus on her role as homemaker at the expense of all other facets of her life. She is not shown rushing home from work to prepare dinner before washing up, or even asking her spouse or children for help with the chores. Media reinforces the idea that it is mother’s job to take care of the house, and we absorb that idea. It is a vicious cycle. Media says we are happy housewives because we buy their products. So we buy their products in order to be June Cleaver.


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