See the woman in the commercial in this article ? I love the author’s commentary. I would like to compare it to some other commercials.
In this All commercial, every single family member is shown having fun and getting messy. And the mom? She comes in at the end, to silently clean it all up. The only help she gets comes out of the bottle (that would be the laundry detergent bottle, although maybe she needs a nip of something after the happy family trots off to bed). Even the voice over is done by a woman, because no one but women would even notice these giant stains!
What about this lady? Well, she does get help from the adorable children, but they are totally ineffective. Nope, when it is time to really do the job, it is the mom.It seems to me that something so simple as pushing the hardwood floor cleaner around would be no trouble for the little sprites, but nope, true housework is the domain of the mom. Dad doesn’t even exist in this commercial. Another female voiceover, until it is time to talk money. Because numbers are so much more trustworthy when coming from a man, perhaps?
Don’t worry though. Women in commercials get time off for fun too. They wash their hair (I have never found shampoo that is quite that fun), they shave (but of course their true value, even as a goddess is in their roles and relationships to other people-lover, mother, friend), they have coffee (while looking radiantly gorgeous and ready for action-again the woman is the prize, even when she is the subject), and of course, they eat yogurt. Now the yogurt barely gets to be pleasurable since it is served with a heaping helping of hair shaming. But it is marketed as the equivalent of a trip to Bermuda. The poor suffering mom (because all moms suffer and sacrifice of course) will be brought to pure happiness thanks to this plastic container of yogurt.
The other amazing thing about the commercial from the article is that she is a woman of color and gets to be portrayed with a meaningful life. Women of color are often portrayed as sassy, or sassy or fetishized. That is, when they can be found at all.
So, I will say that this Microsoft ad impresses me. Here is a woman with a job, and a career path. There are no children in the shot, and she is pursuing her own goals, neither cleaning up nor putting out for others. Is she this decade’s Charlie girl? Maybe, but it is sad if we live in a world where we can point to a series of commercials in the 1970s and then again one commerical in the 2010s and say, “Wow, these show progress!” with very little in between. Hopefully that tide will turn a little more quickly now.
One last thing, the Windows ad largely avoids all the common tech commercial tropes, so props to them for that!