Procter & Gamble really know how to reel women in and reinforce our ideas about the kinds of activities that women’s bodies need to live up to, and they’re at it again in their portrayals of the modern housewife with their latest Secret Outlast Clear Gel commercials.
Watch em? Good. Oh Secret, where do I even start? Both commercials manage to cover up the universal theme of woman as homemaker and further normalize this imagery in modernizing the whole concept of women as efficient multi-taskers who need a strong deodorant to accomplish all that they do everyday.
The first commercial portrays a woman who is ready for her close up, only to find out that she has a TON of cleaning to do. So within the 30 second duration of the commercial of course she is able to climb, wipe, re-adjust picture frames, screw in a chandelier and even take a little two second breath of fresh air before showing off her sparkling presentation of a living room to a couple house guests, who are of course amazed with her work. To top it all off, she has no white-marks on her clothing and she still smells wonderful! Talk about “conquering a day”!
And don’t get me started on the other one! A pregnant lady is fighting the clock at work and still has a laptop to update before she heads home for 6:00, and the walk home is full of thoughts of calling her mother and picking up the dry-cleaning. Once she gets home she flops down on the couch–to relax and freshen up–for about two seconds before getting up with a smile in her high heels to cook a fabulous dinner for her in-laws. And she still has no white-marks! Good thing she applied her daily dose of “fearlessness” thanks to Secret Outlast!
What I find so ridiculous about these commercials is the fact that they are STILL reinforcing the double shift that sadly so many women still have to face. And what’s even funnier is that the “challenges” that Secret thinks women face is mainly those menial household chores like cleaning, cooking, and running errands.
Each commercial starts out with what looks to be a powerhouse of a woman: one ready for what you think will be her glamourous close-up, perhaps a TV host of some sort, and the other a working mom-to-be running her own business. And then comes the slap in the face: these women may be initially depicted as highly ambitious and powerful career women, but then they are loaded down with all these “inherently feminine” obligations that imply taking care of and cleaning up after others. And the fruit of these women’s labours is the fact that they are able to perform all their domestic duties while remaining beautiful and smelling nice.
Image from Ispot TV
I mean where the hell is the husband of the pregnant lady whose in-laws she has to cook for?! She needs to leave her workplace to run home early to make a meal for everyone else while I’m going to assume that the man is doing, umm, manly stuff (like working)?
But cooking and cleaning is glamourous! And Secret is here to make sure you don’t smell like bad B.O. while you move about in a frenzy taking care of everyone else but yourself. In fact, the very message behind these commercials is actually that of self-care: the time each woman gets for herself is unnecessary because the deodorant keeps her refreshed all day.
This deodorant is quite literally a woman’s “secret”: women’s labour never ends, and femininity in conjunction never breaks a sweat. Women are strong and fearless when they use this product because it allows them to excel in all of life’s challenges, and Secret ultimately enables women to realize their own inner domestic goddess with their “revolutionary” technology.
Strong enough for a man, but made for women’s work.