Perhaps Swiffer should have known that marketing cleaning products in the age of political correctness is treacherous business. As reported in the Wall Street Journal, Swiffer dared to use the image of Rosie the Riveter to promote a new steam cleaner, provoking a feminist backlash. The company has since pulled the offending ads.
It seems that while feminists want women to be perpetually incensed that they shoulder more of the burden of household chores, they also want companies selling cleaning products to ignore this reality, and feature images of men wielding the latest cleaning contraption.
Mainstream women may not see such a disconnect between helpful cleaners and women’s empowerment, as exemplified by Rosie. After all, innovations in cleaning – such as washing machines, vacuums, and fast-acting spray cleaners – have played a leading role in freeing up women’s time so that they could pursue work outside of the home. And many women today continue to see keeping a nice home and raising children as a true achievement, and not at all at odds with equality.
Swiffer has quickly noted that a forthcoming television ad campaign will showcase men using their products. That’s a relief, and a big victory for feminists who seem increasingly in search of a cause.