Television Ads: Targeting Women’s Dreams?

If you watch television, you’ve seen the commercials. You know, the ones that show the father figure feeding the kids before school and getting everyone ready for the bus stop? Historically, commercials have always shown women in this role; so are things finally changing?

Are the commercials slanting their visuals to keep up with the times or do they have a hidden agenda? Are more men really staying home while the women are the breadwinners of the homes? CNN Money reported the rise in stay at home dad‘s in an April 2012 article ( ). “Among fathers with a wife in the workforce, 32% took care of their kids at least one day a week in 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, which looked at families with children under 15 years old. That’s up from 26% in 2002…Of those with kids under the age of 5, 20% of dads in 2010 were the primary caretaker.”

Forbes Magazine (2012) shared, “…over the last decade, the number of men who have left the work force entirely to raise children has more than doubled, to 176,000, according to recent United States census data” ( ).

Ohio resident Travis Brown explained, “I’m a stay at home dad and I’m happy with the decision to be home with my kids. My wife loves her career and makes a decent income for our household. It works for us. I know it’s not the traditional route, but we just do what works for our family. I’m happy, my wife is happy and our kids are happy. Family is what is most important and I think that each family must decide for themselves what works best for them. There’s no perfect formula- just what works for you. This works for us.”

American advertising executive and television personality Donny Deutsch recently shared his thoughts during a December 6th, 2012 interview on NBC’s Today Show with Savanna Guthrie. Deutsch believes that advertisers are “just playing to what women dream of.” He discussed his belief that women dream of having a husband who will help out around the house and with the children. Deutsch believes that the advertisers are showing stay at home mom’s and mom’s who have to juggle both careers and mom duties- that if they buy this product, they can get their man to help out too. He believes it is all a genius marketing ploy to sell more products. Is he right? Does it matter?

Regardless of the reason advertisements of home products are changing, the fact is they are changing. Statistics show that more fathers are becoming stay-at-home-dad’s while the women are the breadwinners of the home. If Deutsch’s theory is correct, what impact does that have on society? If statistics of a rise in stay-at-home dad’s in America more strongly correlate with the updates in recent television advertisements, what impact does that have on today’s world?

As Brown stated, “There’s no perfect formula for family- just what works for you.” How can you argue with that?

Disclaimer: This post was written by a Feministing Community user and does not necessarily reflect the views of any Feministing columnist, editor, or executive director.

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