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Women's Work
Tuesday, April 04, 2006

I have never seen a commercial that showed a man cleaning a toilet. One time I saw one where a man was pushing the cleaning product, but when it cut to the demonstration, it was a black woman's arm in the frame doing the dirty work. How many people give a thought to such images?

It would be hard to indict an individual commercial, but there are some serious patterns fed into our brains all the time. A lot of them, like women-only toilet cleaning are very sexist.

Did you know women didn't even have the right to vote in this country until 1920?
posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 10:54 PM  
  • At April 05, 2006 7:54 AM, Blogger tirade25 said…

    I'm a woman and I'm not offended by commercials directed at the consumers of my gender (I think many are tasteless and moronic, but taste is a different issue). I also don't feel oppressed. But I lived in the Middle East for several years, so I don't tend to pay attention to anything that people consider sexist. The reality is that life here is pretty d*mn good.

    (Ask me again when I'm tryng to earn a living, I might have a different response)

  • At April 05, 2006 9:29 AM, Blogger Haik Bedrosian said…

    Opression isn't always obvious. Sometimes it's so subtle it's hard to perceive. Sometimes it's so woven into the fabric of our lives, it's impossible to wrap your mind around. But it's still there. I worked at a call center in Austin. Sometimes female co-workers, who'd worked there longer than me, would hand me the phone and ask me to play the role of manager with difficult customers. They would say some people only accept a male voice as an authority. That sort of thing is a constant reality. It's fed by the images pumped into our faces nonstop by advertising and media.

    Sure, America is better than a lot of places in the world, but that's no excuse to avoid self-examination. You should write about the middle east on TP... I mean your blog. That would be interesting.

  • At April 05, 2006 9:45 AM, Blogger Charity said…

    "You should write about the middle east on TP... I mean your blog."

    That sentence would be so funny if you left out the "I mean you blog" part.

    That thing about the call center...those prejudices usually come from family dynamics more than anything else. If a man is raised in a family with a dominant father and a non-authoritative mother, then it would not be surprising if the man had more respect for the authority of men.

    I think you are reading way too much into this. They are just marketing their target demographic. That's what advertisers do. I am sure they do lots of focus groups and other studies to determine who in the family cleans the toilets. There is a lot that goes into advertising. They are more concerned with selling toilet wands than they are with keeping women down.

  • At April 05, 2006 9:49 AM, Blogger Charity said…

    "Ask me again when I'm tryng to earn a living, I might have a different response."

    I doubt it. That whole "women earn less than men" thing is just feminist propaganda. At least, I never had that experience in any of the jobs I have had. It depends on the company, I am sure, but most companies are more concerned with retaining valuable employees, more than they are with keeping women down.

  • At April 05, 2006 9:50 AM, Blogger Charity said…

    How on earth did that toilet get so dirty? That's what I want to know.

  • At April 05, 2006 10:34 AM, Blogger Haik Bedrosian said…

    It's interesting that Charity should choose to say "keeping women down." That implies that women are down. Is that what you think Charity?

    Another thing to consider is why advertisers have found it's women who do the toilet cleaning. Is it just true? What about all the men who live alone? What about men who are roomates with no woman living with them? What about gay male couples? What about that tiny sliver of the male population who live with women, yet still clean the toilet themselves now and then? None of these people ever clean their toilets? No comapny should ever try to market to these populations?

    It's weird, right? Ads DO NOT reflect society accurately or proportionately.

  • At April 05, 2006 10:46 AM, Blogger tirade25 said…

    "That whole 'women earn less than men' thing is just feminist propaganda"

    That's what I figured - but I'm not there yet, so I'll hold my judgment until after I have real experience.

    "Maybe some women like this division of work in some masochistic realm of their psyche."

    What about women who enjoy household work? Maybe I'm crazy, but I actually do. For me, having a clean, attractive, and organized environment is all about control - and that's no wimpy "girl thing." My boyfriend (future husband) is happy to share the household responsibilities - but he doesn't do things the way I want them done - so I do them myself. Because I want to be in control of my environtment - but I choose not to try controlling him (that's not very nice). So what if women statistically do more housework than men? If you don't want to, don't, but don't make other people feel bad if that is what they choose.

    Read the book Manliness by Harvey Mansfield. I'm sorry to burst the collective bubble here but there IS a difference between men and women. I can't accept that many of my hopes (raising a family, learning to cook, keeping a nice home, having a career) are constructed by society. Thats preposterous. The truth is that I am a woman and many of the things that society calls "women things" are things that I naturally desire. Am I saying that women should stay home and slave over a hot stove day in and day out? No. But if some people want to do that, they shouldn't feel embarassed about it. Sometimes I think feminism has gone so full circle that it really isn't about equality anymore - now it's all about exceptionalism.

  • At April 05, 2006 10:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I can bring home the bacon...
    Fry it up in a pan...
    And never ever let you forget you're a man,
    'Cause I'm a WOMAN...

  • At April 05, 2006 10:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You've come a long way, baby.

  • At April 05, 2006 11:21 AM, Blogger Charity said…

    It’s really sad to me that there are women who are willing to continue to stoke the fires of a contrived gender war in this society; in fact, who enjoy it.

    The funny thing is, even though I am a stay-at-home mom, I do the least housework out of anyone – unless I choose to do more. I make the boys do most of the house cleaning because they make most of the mess. And my husband is more than helpful – he’s awesome. I often want to do more because I feel like he shouldn’t have to, but he helps out all of the time.

    I agree with Tirade that if a woman as doing most of the housework, it is because she wants to (or her husband is a complete cad, in which case, that’s her fault for marrying him).

    Okay, I really have to go, I have housework to do!

  • At April 05, 2006 11:47 AM, Blogger Bob said…

    Why is it that you always see men in lawnmower and snowblower ads? Because, just like household cleaners, the companies are targeting their key demographic.
    Even if the man in the house is cleaning the bathroom, the woman is still probably buying the cleaning products on the weekly shopping trip. So it would still make sense to target her.
    Like it or not, there is a natural division of labor between men and women.
    How would you feel sitting inside on a cold winter's day watching your wife shovel the driveway? If you're like most men, you would feel like a complete wuss, which is perfectly natural because that is what you would be. (I'm not suggesting anything here, just trying to illustrate my point.)
    I heard on the radio recently that American women hold about 45% of the executive management positions, which was heads above the liberal/socialist European countries, which were in the 20% range. That's good. In a lot of ways, women make better managers. Personally, I don't care who my manager is, as long as they are competent, honest, and don't micro-manage me.
    I think you are making too much of advertisements.

  • At April 05, 2006 12:47 PM, Blogger Haik Bedrosian said…

    My wife and I divide labor along extremely traditional lines. I do all the shoveling and she cleans the bathroom most of the time. I work full time and care for our son part time. She cares for our son full time and works part time. She does most of the cooking and I fix things.

    That doesn't make it wrong for me to think about media images and gender roles. There is still a lot of sexism (and racism) out there. Don't deny it.

  • At April 05, 2006 1:25 PM, Blogger Charity said…

    So, it's okay to take traditional roles, but it's sexist to make commercials that reflect that reality? Got it.

  • At April 05, 2006 1:51 PM, Blogger Haik Bedrosian said…

    I don't think you "got it" at all. I must not be explaining it well enough.

    Inequalities exist. Sexism is real. When we get a woman president, or a black president, or both, perhaps this post will be as wrong as you think it is.

    But for now, it's not wrong. It's smart. I'm sorry I'm not able to get that through to everybody.

  • At April 05, 2006 2:00 PM, Blogger Bob said…

    Are you endorsing Condi Rice for president?

  • At April 05, 2006 2:14 PM, Blogger Haik Bedrosian said…

    No. I'm endorsing Oprah.

  • At April 05, 2006 3:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Condi Rice is a liar.

  • At April 05, 2006 3:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    "Condi Rice is a liar."

    Good one.

  • At April 05, 2006 3:20 PM, Blogger Haik Bedrosian said…

    "Liar" is putting it nicely. I might use the term "Satan's Prostitute" myself.

  • At April 05, 2006 4:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Didn't you get the memo?

    Racism, sexism and homophobia don't exist anymore.

    If you think that they do you are just a liberal cry baby.

    Not that this is settled, let's unite together and kick some Arab a$$.

  • At April 05, 2006 4:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I wonder if she cleans her own toilet?

  • At April 05, 2006 4:11 PM, Blogger tirade25 said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • At April 05, 2006 4:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    "I simply cannot understand how women would deny this. I have to assume it's akin to mental illness, denial like that of people in the first stages of alcoholism."

    Believe it. Also try believing that you are just one person with one opinion in a world with billions of people who also have opinions. Most, if not all, of them are of little or no consequence. You should really try to be more tolerant. I'm guessing your political views and lifestyle choices lie somewhere left of center. Isn't being a lib or dem or whatever you are, all about tolerance? You know, peace and justice and Tibetan prayer flags outside your house? Why then all the hostility? I personally like the idea of "I choose to live my life the way I want and you can chose yours."

    Also, as a (sober) alcoholic, I'd say that your analysis of people and their beliefs being akin to the disease of alcoholism, is a pretty ignorant and offensive thing to say.

  • At April 05, 2006 4:45 PM, Blogger Haik Bedrosian said…

    Another thing... have you ever noticed what a high proportion of victims in crime shows are young women that have been brutally killed? It's really, really common to see hot, murdered women on TV. You might not have thought about it, but I notice it all the time.

  • At April 05, 2006 4:46 PM, Blogger amy said…

    This is all yesterday's news. Today's news is that the vast majority of colleges in this country have affirmative action for guys so they can get close to 45% men in their first-year classes (because their high school g.p.a.s and class rank are far below women). There are more women than men in law school and medical school. I advise my college students who are smart women that their greatest feminist act would be to make enough money to support a guy staying home and cleaning the toilet bowl and I've got lots of candidates for that job . . . Parents of boys wake up, and throw the game boy and x-box and every video game in the house out the window.

  • At April 05, 2006 4:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    "I advise my college students who are smart women that their greatest feminist act would be to make enough money to support a guy staying home and cleaning the toilet bowl and I've got lots of candidates for that job"

    I have a friend who is in that boat and as soon as she had her baby, she regretted not being the one who got to stay home. That's the thing feminists never seem to get, the biology factor.

  • At April 05, 2006 5:06 PM, Blogger Charity said…

    Amy, your post reminds me of a column in the Free Press today.

    The author said, “that women's hard work has gone a long way toward helping girls overcome internal and external barriers.

    The problem is that few similar efforts have been undertaken to support boys.”

    There was a story a while back about boys lagging behind in literacy, but when librarians were confronted with the proposal to create literacy programs for boys, they said they would not because it would be discriminatory toward girls.

    People like Haik and rocksandwater are so obsessed with this idea that women are being oppressed, our society is afraid to implement programs to help our boys lest the feminists start screaming about it.

    There’s more to it than the video games. (I’m sure that doesn’t help, though.)

  • At April 05, 2006 5:27 PM, Blogger Haik Bedrosian said…

    I'm not obsessed.

    Actually there have been many times when I was searching the classifieds and was pre-maturely excited about certain small business and job training programs, only to be let down by the fact they are for women only.

    Where's the "step-up" for men program? Bah!

    I do generally agree with 'water on the rocks,' though.

  • At April 05, 2006 5:47 PM, Blogger Charity said…

    "Where's the "step-up" for men program? Bah!"


    I thought that was scotch on the rocks.

  • At April 05, 2006 6:30 PM, Blogger tirade25 said…

    "That's the thing feminists never seem to get, the biology factor."


    God forbid anyone use the term "human nature" anymore - especially in colleges. It's like some kind of dirty word. Incidentally, I recommend the book "The Blank Slate" by Steven Pinker.

  • At April 05, 2006 7:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The ERA will mean the end of seperate bathrooms.

  • At April 05, 2006 8:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

  • At April 06, 2006 7:12 AM, Blogger Haik Bedrosian said…

    What would you expect from National Review? Schlafly wasn't right at all. The article only talks about her prediction re same sex marriage, which will probably come about regardless of an ERA.

    It's incredible that a concept like "equal rights" hit such viscious opposition from some of the very peoople it meant to empower.

    It sad.

  • At April 06, 2006 9:38 AM, Blogger amy said…

    I think it is AWESOME if women choose to defer working outside the home in order to be with kids, but I want men to make that choice half the time. The reason feminism is still important is because older generations are still pretty skewed. How many CEOs in the Fortune 500 are women? Two! But the gender thing is a system. The women who get out of med school with their academic prizes need to be able to feel like they can be good moms AND good doctors if they choose to do that - that burden should be the same as for the guys who get out of medical school. A lot has to change to support working parents and gender equity. In the words of Marian Wright Edelman "Superwoman is TIRED." It is time for MANY men to choose deferred careers and staying at home to support their partners.

  • At April 08, 2006 10:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'm wondering...Do you deny that it is possible that these companies are targeting their key demographics? I don't think you've actually responded to this point directly...


  • At April 09, 2006 12:47 AM, Blogger Haik Bedrosian said…

    Let me think about that for a while.

  • At April 13, 2006 10:26 AM, Blogger Bob said…

    "A lot has to change to support working parents and gender equity. In the words of Marian Wright Edelman "Superwoman is TIRED." It is time for MANY men to choose deferred careers and staying at home to support their partners. "

    'Gender Equity' will never happen because it is impossible. You can't take two beings that are different and make them the same. This feminist fantasy has been a huge failure and ultimately a waste of time and effort.
    The undeniable fact is that women are more nurturing than men. Why offer your young children a lesser substitute just so mom can go to the office and feel liberated.
    I'm curious how many women on their deathbeds will be glad that they chose their careers over staying home with their young children.

  • At April 21, 2006 4:24 PM, Blogger Charity said…

    I was just thinking about this picture while I was cleaning the toilet. How did that toilet get so dirty? I sure hope that was not the guest bathroom.

    I guess while she was out overcoming male opression, she forgot that you have to clean your toilet more than once a year! :)

  • At April 21, 2006 9:15 PM, Blogger Haik Bedrosian said…

    Oh. Now I get it. I thought that was shadow. Gross!

  • At September 08, 2006 3:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    "How many people give a thought..."?
    We aren't supposed to be thinking - are we? This is America, we're supposed to be quietly consuming, vegetating, commuting, or sleeping... aren't we?

    L. Michaels

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Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

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Amendment VII

In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Burlington Music Scene
Big Heavy World
Icebox Records
Live Music Beth
Tom Azarian

Other Random Websites
Radio Free Quaker
CCTV Channel 17
Here (

Ari K's Strange Blue Planet

Bach's Cello Suite #1 in G Major Prelude

"Bulldog's" Bio

My Dream House


Daily Kos

Michael Moore


CCTV Channel 17

VCAM Channel 15

Vermont Guardian

UVM Cynic

WVAA 1390 AM


90.1 WRUV FM

Lois the Hot Dog Lady

Women Helping Battered Women

Dr. Tuna, et al.


Burlington "Free" Press

WCAX Channel 3 (CBS)

WPTZ Channel 5 (NBC)


Vermont Bar Association

Chittenden Solid Waste District

Chittenden Solid Waste District

Carnegie library building

Wiki Leaks

Madeleine Kunin's Resume

Famous Vermonters Part I

Famous Vermonters Part II

True Crime in Burlington

Kennedy Family Tree

Rockefeller Family Tree

Bush Family Tree

Church of the Subgenius

Robert Anton Wilson

Right Here Writing From China!

Democracy Now!

Neighborhood Planning Assemblies

Huffington Post

Editor and Publisher

Bet on Politics!

Political Graveyard

Rasmussen Reports

Mark Fiore

Frame Shop

The King of All Media

Alexandra Kosteniuk





Boob Nazis



Center for Digital Democracy

Free Radio Burlington

The Freedom Forum

Amendment II

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

Random Election Literature





"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me: I lift my lamp beside the golden door."

-Emma Lazarus, 1883

Church Street Energy System

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