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Tide Commercial Gets It Wrong About Moms, Daughters, and Gender Roles

posted by Nell Minow

I try to maintain a sense of humor about ads, but I really do not like the new series of commercials for Tide with people explaining how they get their clothes dirty.  I know they are intended to be funny but I find them annoying and the one with the “girly” mom complaining about her cargo-pants-wearing daughter really bugged me.  So I was very pleased to see a very thoughtful commentary on the Tide ad from Lauren R. of Representing America.

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Tide may be making fun of this stereotypical perfectionist housewife. The elaborately decorated living room, the pink cardigan, sensible haircut; it all fits. Is this commercial trying to present satire? If so, I don’t think that they were obvious enough about doing so.

The satire presented is also sexist in its own way. The mother is portrayed as uptight, reserved, and repressed to the point of (maybe?) being humorous….Either way you look at it, this ad is probably sending the wrong message.

Who are they making fun of here?  The little girl in the cargo pants who likes to get dirty or the mother who wants her to wear pink?  Either way, it is definitely sending the wrong message.



  • http://Tidemomgotitwrong Denise A.

    I had an adverse reaction to this commercial also. I felt like the mom didn’t like her child for who she is. So if a girl like this watches, she might feel “wrong”. Aren’t we supposed to be accepting and supportive? They got it wrong!

    • Nell Minow

      Thanks so much for your support on this Denise! You are so right!

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment monkie

    The loveliest thing about having given up watching commercial TV is not having to be annoyed by objectionable commercials :)
    (someone always ends up linking me to the ones that I’d really like to see anyway LOL)
    The ad bugged me, too… mostly because the mother is talking about her child as though she isn’t even there, and the audience is forced to accept this. Even if we’re supposed to feel smugly superior to the uptight mom (my take on the ad’s focus), I can’t help but feel sad for the child.

    • Nell Minow

      Thanks, monkie! You said it better than I did.

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  • http://www.findyourcoach.com Jeanne

    Oh yeah – I agree, I think this commercial is rediculious too. Another one that literally drives me nuts is the commercial for Fiber One where th wife is talking to the husband about not eating junk food and getting more fiber…as she takes a bite of a Fiber One bar, he says somthing to the effect of “how can you say tht when your standing there eatinc a candy bar…” and he yanks the Fiber One bar our her hands and the wrapper, and takes a big bite – she says “you enjoy that”. Its rediculious how bad, rude and obnoxious behavior,stupidity and not healthy choices are is shown in these commercials – and people see this as ok or normal! I always talk with my son about the “wierd’ stuff we see on TV – including the commercials, which are some of the worst “programming” ever! So, yeah, I agree that these commercials are beyond stupid – what do we have to do to get this to stop – because it’s not funny.

    • Nell Minow

      That sounds awful, Jeanne! Thanks for sharing.

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