Constipated advertising

Right, strange thought occurs. Why are adverts for constipation medications aimed at women?
Every advert that I’ve seen for senna products there’s a grayish woman going about her everyday life with a pained expression and clutching at her belly. Then she takes some drug and next time we see her she’s running around in a bright sunlit world. Usually there’s housework or kids about although one did show a professional woman with a handbag you could pack for a month long holiday and wearing a severe yet ‘sexy’ skirt suit.

I don’t get it, I mean, not just the inherent sexism of the depictions of women as either single career women or as housewives, with no other possibilities, but the idea that it’s something that only happens to women. Maybe they think only women care about regularity? I’m pretty certain men get constipation too, but there aren’t any adverts of a business man reaching into his laptop bag for a box of Senokot before grinning before turning back to his desk or whatever.

My question, I suppose, is why is an advert for something that is useful no matter your gender directed exclusively at women?

It’s as though the advertisers are telling women they need to be worrying about their regularity. Because obviously we won’t be as effective as parents/unpaid housekeepers/any good at our jobs unless our bodies are perfect.

That’s entirely novel message, isn’t it?


Every damn advert aimed at women pushes the same message. It’s stupid and irritating.

While we’re on the subject of stupid adverts there’s the Dettol one that goes on about cleaning your kitchen and bathroom, and in most of the vignettes of family life there’s a woman doing the cleaning/childcare and where a male does appear he’s making a mess or cleaning with difficulty.

Excuse me while I bash my head against a wall.

I find unconscious enforcement of tired stereotypes boring. It’s lazy advertising, as well as being sexist and insulting to everyone. These sorts of adverts reinforce the stupid cultural stereotypes that lead to the teasing and disbelief that men receive when it turns out they can actually survive on their own and look after kids, or that women are obsessed with house work and the unfair distribution of said housework. In a household of a heterosexual couple where both partners are working full time the woman will still be doing the majority of household chores.

Some men are experts at cleaning, some women hate ironing; there is no one right way to be a person. Advertising shouldn’t reinforce outdated bollocks.

I’d like to point out I wrote this a few nights ago, while stressed. I’m posting it now because I feel like it 🙂

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