My mom, a wife and a mother of four, has her college diploma framed and mounted above the washing machine as a joke. Its place of honor is, in a way, apt: the time she has spent doing laundry, added up, would amount to years. I am forever grateful to her for this, and I admire her ability to find humor in the situation. But while I love the feeling of crisp, clean, wrinkle-free clothes, I absolutely despise doing laundry. Sure, it is tons easier to throw a pile of stuff into the washer or dryer in 2010 than in the bygone days of washboards and clotheslines, but I’ve witnessed the hours of her life my mom has devoted to the endless cycle of separating, sorting, folding, putting away, and, quite frankly, I am frightened!
Is my impending success as a wife and mother measured in loads of laundry? Will my love for my family one day be gauged by how immaculately white I can keep linens?
That seems to be the message conveyed by these vintage ads, in which women are always depicted as doing laundry for others (husbands, and children), and rarely for themselves.
See for yourself, after the jump!
Clean shirts + tiny waist = best wife ever!
This woman proves to her husband that she isn’t a scatterbrain, and even manages to secure his affection — by washing his clothing with Surf!
This ad suggests that washing your daughter’s clothing in pure Chiffon detergent not only keeps her clothing “lovely longer,” it keeps your hands as pure and innocent as hers!
Okay, ModReaders, it’s your turn! Do the ads or the commercial featured in this post remind you of any commercials or ads on television or in magazines right now (or ones that have been, recently)? Do the “separate spheres” portrayed by the media and advertising industries represent or reflect your personal experience or your own upbringing? Do you think a woman’s personal success, or love for her family is measured exclusively in loads of laundry? Tell us what you think!