Monday, April 8, 2013

What gender roles look like (in a diaper commercial)

The music is, "I Feel Pretty," I wonder if there will be any male babies in the commercial.  No.  There are not.  Boys cannot feel pretty.

Voice over talks about how the diaper keeps your baby dry no matter how "he" moves.

Let's recap.  There's not a lot to recap because there's not a lot there.

1 Pretty babies is a group that consists entirely of female babies.  Baby boys cannot feel/be pretty.
2 Your baby is a he.
3 Even though the images are all of shes.

So, male is default even when talking about a group composed exclusively of females.


  1. I have heard "I Feel Pretty" coming from the television lately, but wasn't even paying enough attention to know it was a diaper commercial. (I guess that means it failed in its job. Maybe if they'd stuck to their guns and gone with "pretty and witty and gay" it would have been sufficiently surprising to look up and I might have become aware of their product.)

  2. Wow, I hadn't really noticed that. I've noticed the commercial, enough to be annoyed with it, but hadn't noticed that particular bit of weirdness. I'm glad you pointed it out.

  3. It's obvious what sex the babies are? How?

  4. I assume it's obvious what gender the parents are presenting the kids as, via hairboys or some nonsense?

  5. True; as it's almost impossible to tell girl babies from boy babies without color-coding. I suppose they COULD be boy babies in pink :P

    (True fact: if I dress my daughter in neutral colors - or, gods forbid, blue, which she looks pretty good in - I get told all day what a handsome little boy I have.)

    1. I take it you're aware that the colour coding changed over in the early years of the 20th century? Before then, pink was regarded as a "strong" colour (as a variant of red). And the change didn't even happen all at once - I've seen a newspaper clipping from the period that explains which stores are following which colour protocol...

  6. Interpretation of the gender of the babies is based mostly on things that are traditionally used to delineate gender that are under control of the parents. Hairstyle, for example, ranks pretty high on that list.