From mop-wielding housewives in The Saturday Evening Post to anthropomorphic Scrubbing Bubbles easing the trials of the modern soccer mom, American advertising from the late 1800s to today has been remarkably consistent in depicting housework as women's work.
In this wide-ranging and entertaining book, author Jessamyn Neuhaus shows advertising to be our most significant public discourse about housework, analysing print ads and TV commercials, as well as ad agency documents and trade journals, to demonstrate how the housewife figure framed household labour as exclusively feminine care for the family.
Though the 1970s and 1980s were transitional decades in which stereotypical images of the housewife became unmarketable, Neuhaus reveals how advertising today continues to gender housework with its depictions of racially diverse yet nonetheless socially acceptable 'housewife mums.'
About the Author
Jessamyn Neuhaus is Associate Professor of History at SUNY Plattsburgh, USA. An avid consumer and scholar of popular culture, she is the author of Manly Meals and Mom's Home Cooking : Cookbooks and Gender in Modern America, as well as numerous publications in scholarly journals and anthologies.
"Extensively researched in advertising archives, mass magazines, and scholarly studies, this book persuasively argues that advertising for cleaning, food, and other household products has changed only modestly over the past 110 years." - CHOICE "Thorough and interesting ... Neuhaus offers keen observations, and the book is well-written." - Journalism History "This deeply researched analysis makes a valuable contribution to our understanding of how the cultural figure of the housewife in modern American advertising continues to perform the same function as the symbol did at the end of the 1800s, despite the widespread critique of the 1970s." - Juliann Sivulka, professor of American Studies, Waseda University and author of Ad Women: How They Impact What We Need, Want, and Buy "With this book, Neuhaus continues her work in popular culture scholarship, this time closely examining commercial messages that were projected into the public arena in order to influence consumer behavior. She is a skilled reader of visual and verbal texts, a lively writer, and a fine researcher. To the standard practices of popular culture scholarship she adds research about the producers of those messages. Because of the limitations of popular culture scholarship as typically practiced, this additional research deepens the merits of the work as an historical analysis. It also sets the work apart from a plenitude of studies of housework, gender, and consumer culture." - Pamela Walker Laird, Professor, History Department, University of Colorado Denver
1. The Laundry Room 2. The Bathroom 3. The Kitchen 4. The Living Room