A powerful commercial created by Indian detergent company Ariel brings attention to traditional gender roles that are passed down from generation to generation in families around the world and encourages men to take more active roles in their homes.
The commercial is a part of a campaign called #ShareTheLoad, which "shows the impact parents' behaviors and actions in the house have on their children and how men's participation in day-to-day chores can break down larger and problematic gender stereotypes," according to the Huffington Post.
The campaign's most recent commercial, released on Feb. 19, shows a woman coming home from work and immediately attending to tasks like preparing dinner, cleaning the house, taking care of her son and sorting out work affairs on a business call. She does all of those things at the same time while her husband sits on the couch, watching television. Her father sits at a table, surveying the situation.
While the woman never conveys stress, viewers can sympathize with her as she rushes from one task to the next.
"I am so sorry," her father says in a voiceover. "Sorry that you have to do this all on your own, sorry that I never stopped you while you were playing house. I never told you that it’s not your job alone but your husband’s too."
In an extended message, the father apologizes on behalf of dads everywhere for influencing women to believe that juggling all household tasks is solely their responsibility.
"But how could I say (sorry) when I never helped your mom either? And what you saw, you learned," he says. "Your husband must have learned the same thing from his dad. Sorry on behalf of his dad. Sorry on behalf of every dad who set the wrong example."
He pledges to help change the idea that the woman is expected to complete all the household chores by saying he'll start by doing the laundry.
"It’s not too late, I will make a conscious effort to help your mom with the household chores," he says in the video. "I may not become the king of the kitchen, but at least I can help out with the laundry. All these years I’ve been wrong, it’s time to set things right."
In the final screen, a message asks viewers, "Why is laundry only a mother's job?"
The video was shared on Facebook more than 100,000 times in one week.
Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg shared the video on her own Facebook page, saying: "This is one of the most powerful videos I have ever seen -- showing how stereotypes hurt all of us and are passed from generation to generation. When little girls and boys play house they model their parents' behavior; this doesn’t just impact their childhood games, it shapes their long-term dreams."
Josy Paul, chief creative officer of BBDO India, the advertising company that created the #ShareTheLoad campaign, said that the commercial aims to promote "household equality."
"The film is about roles and responsibility, and about setting the right example by being the right role model," Paul told The Economic Times of India. "The film is about ensuring the right message for the next generation, free from prejudice."
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