Saturday, April 26, 2014

Out of the Kitchen

Are advertisements shaped by the real world or is it the other way around? I’m not entirely sure. My kids and I seem unable to relate to some of the more recurring TV ads these days. Cases in point:

Ad A: A woman grinning from ear to ear washes clothes by hand, and the items on her clothesline multiply indefinitely until she becomes a tiny spec in a sea of clean clothes. She remains blissfully happy, a maniac addicted to laundry.

Ad B: It’s early morning and a mom is in a mad rush around the kitchen preparing for members of her family who will be off to work and school. She ends up having a massive headache the size of PNoy's foreign relations problems.

Ad C: A mom serves her kids at the dining table while joyfully extolling the virtues of artificial flavoring. Life has never been easier with the advent of semi fake food.

My husband bought this for me for my protection. I'm kitchen and cooking impaired.

Do most modern women do all of that? If I had to wash clothes to infinity and beyond, my fingers would be in bloody shreds and I would probably never smile again, ever. As to kitchen duties, I am cooking impaired. My husband once summed up my attempts to learn to wield knife and spatula by declaring in exasperation, “The whole kitchen is against you.”

In our house, my kids know it’s their father they need to see for clean clothes and good food, but these ads have gotten them confused so that they’ve started to wonder if their father is really their mother; their mother their father; or if their mother is really their mother, then why is she working ten hour shifts and not in the kitchen or the laundry room shredding her fingers?

I suppose my kids aren’t the only ones puzzled. One time, while at my father-in-law’s place, a group of neighbors’ kids, all boys, were playing in my pa’s living room with pink cookware. They were each vying for the role of father of their make believe house. Clearly in their houses, the men man their kitchens as well. 

This is not a feminist commentary. It’s an observation on how some families and situations no longer fit old standards and how children’s perceptions have begun to evolve.

I wonder if you’ve begun to change your internal concepts as well. More importantly, I wonder who does the cooking and the laundry in your homes.

Here's the man of our house doing the cooking.

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