Include Men in Cleaning Supply Commercials

Target: Herbert Fisk Johnson, III, CEO of SC Johnson

Goal: Convince SC Johnson to stop using only women in cleaning supply commercials.

“Traditional households,” in which the husband works out of the home and the wife takes care of household duties, fell to 7% of  all U.S. households in 2002. This means that in most households, both partners work. Yet despite this fact, the majority of women still perform all of the housecleaning duties. This is depicted by cleaning supply commercials that only use women in housecleaning roles. This sexist practice is outdated and incorrectly assumes that only women should be responsible for cleaning the house. Tell SC Johnson to show men sharing the workload by casting them as the lead in cleaning commercials.

Advertising obviously molds people’s perceptions, otherwise it would be a useless industry. When commercials are shown, viewers are not just learning about products, they are learning social cues as well. With most if not all cleaning supply commercials showing women as the housecleaner, it forces us to ask: do these commercials only portray women because women are the only ones who clean the house, or are women the ones primarily cleaning the house because this is what these commercials portray? If it’s the latter, then cleaning supply commercials are creating an unfair burden on women to balance both work and household duties.

Despite the fact that in the majority of dual income households, women still do most of the housework, the balance of work is slowly changing. Men are beginning to share more of the household duties that mainly women used to take on. Additionally, there are more single parent households, stay-at-home dads and people living alone than before. Surely men use cleaning supplies in these households as well, so why aren’t they depicted in cleaning supply commercials?

Using mainly women in cleaning supply commercials is outdated, prejudiced, sexist and ignorant. It is also causing SC Johnson to miss out on a newly expanding market–men. Not only does the use of only women in cleaning supply commercials lend credence to the stereotype that only women know how to clean, but it also may be responsible for why only women clean in many households. Ask SC Johnson to accurately portray households in modern America by including men as the lead role in cleaning supply commercials.


Dear Herbert Fisk Johnson, III,

Despite the fact that “traditional households” where the husband works out of the house and the wife stays home are no longer the norm, your cleaning supply commercials still show only women in the role of homemaker. With the growing number of single-parent households, stay-at-home dads and people living alone, it would be incorrect to assume that only women need to know about cleaning supplies.

But your commercials don’t portray this. By using only women in cleaning supply commercials, you may be partly responsible for why women feel led to bear the burden of both work and housecleaning. And even though many homes are made up of men who share or have taken over the responsibility of cleaning the house, you are still inaccurately depicting only women in these roles. We ask you to discontinue this sexist misrepresentation of American households by using more men as the lead role in cleaning supply commercials.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Allen via Flickr.

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One Comment

  1. Myrna Burdick says:

    I think this is a wonderful idea. It is not unmanly to clean ones place; surely single men living by themselves don’t have maids/cleaning services or live like slobs.

    Divisions of household tasks should be acknowledged as
    a way to enhance the marriage.

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