At the risk of sounding like a horrid feminazi stereotype (lololololollololoolll, like I care), those Swiffer commercials starring 90-year-old lovebirds Morty and Lee Kaufman exhibit some extremely problematic gender messaging, you guys!!! I've held this inside for a long time because obviously Morty and Lee are adorable and they love each other more than anyone on earth will ever love me (except for maybe the Dorito corporation), but the time has come to let it out.
WHY IS MORTY LITERALLY TAKING A NAP WHILE HIS 90-YEAR-OLD WIFE IS JUST SWIFFERING AND SWIFFERING!?
And don't say, "He does the laundry." Laundry is a bullshit chore and you know it, Morty. You know it.
Now, to be fair, Morty does do some pro spotting work while Lee's clambering up on the steppy-stool, and the dancing is darling, and both parties seem pretty much thrilled with the whole arrangement (other than a slight disagreement about how much dirt one household can manufacture, which affords us a brief glimpse into Lee's private struggle). So I'm not upset at Morty as an individual so much as the model of housework that Swiffer is selling.
No amount of charm can mitigate the fact that the message of this commercial—in the year 2013—is "This product is great because it makes it easier for my wife to do all the cleaning while I doze over the crossword!" I'm all for couples dividing household chores along gender normative lines, if that's what's right for them, but it ought to be an equal division. And the division presented to us by Swiffer's marketing team—played out by Morty and Lee in this insidious tableau—is one in which men, reaching old age, eventually get to retire from toil. But a woman's Swiffering is never done.
Like, I just imagine the Swiffer people rolling up to the Kaufman house all, "Don't fucking embarrass us, Lee. This place had better be sparkling when we get back. THE GOOD NAME OF SWIFFER SHALL NOT BE TRIFLED WITH." This is your commercial, Swiffer, so you're basically forcing Lee to clean your film set. Did you make her set up the cameras too? Did it take an extra long time because she was exhausted from unloading the truck? I don't think my best friend, THE GHOST OF SUSAN B. ANTHONY, would be very pleased with you, Swiffer.
I guess what I'm saying is that it seems like Lee does a lot of Swiffering, is all.
And we don't really know the whole story here, do we? Perhaps Morty has an unseen physical disability that limits his time on his feet! Perhaps their laundry is really really incredibly fucking disgusting! Perhaps he and Lee correct the domestic balance in other ways that they don't feel comfortable discussing on television (WIIINK)! Perhaps he's just been unfairly edited by Swiffer to look like a lazybones! Perhaps everything that advertising shows us isn't 100% real! The one thing we know is this: Swiffer is manipulating the image of a delightful elderly couple in order to push their traditionalist agenda on America's impressionable moppers, both dry and wet.
That's Swiffer's bad. Your bad, Swiffer. Your bad! And I also blame you for making me mad at Morty. I love Morty! Kind of! Fie on you, Swiffer! #Justice4Lee