Summary: In this advertisement for P&G (Proctor and Gamble) products the claim is made that a mother's job is the hardest job in the world, but also the best job. The short clip constructs a very narrow representation of motherhood throughout the world as it takes viewers through a dramatization of several Olympic athlete's upbringing. In each case, and in the various cultures, the mother is responsible for things such as: waking the child, getting the child off to school, feeding and clothing the child, dressing injuries, and taking them to extra-curricular (sporting) activities. Men are excluded from any form of domestic labor, and they are only present for the viewing of the sporting events. Throughout the dramatization, the assumption is that these are the tasks that mothers perform, and if the job is done well the child will reach success. The last few seconds of the clip show the mothers reaping the reward of their efforts while celebrating their grown child's Olympic success. This clip could would fit nicely with discussions of the social construction of familial/gender roles. This depiction is a narrow and stereotypical construction of a woman's role in the family. The media is a major socializing force in society, and they have the power to create and uphold these ideal types through the images and stories they produce. Viewing of this video could also lead to an in-depth discussion of gender inequality within the family with regard to unpaid, domestic labor. Why are women the only ones performing these duties? Do men contribute to the birth of an Olympic athlete (maybe they're saving this for Father's Day)? Furthermore, it could result in a discussion about the appropriation of holidays and other cultures to market and sell products.
Submitted By: Tracy DeHaan, University of Oregon