Saturday, November 7, 2009

“Dirty laundry keeps women busy”; The Corporate Cold Wash

On the inside label of enjoi shirts, even before the washing directons, there says: “Dirty laundry keeps women busy.” Although this message is harmful to any and everyone who reads it, the fact that these shirts are targeted for adolescent and young adult boys is particularly frightening.

These messages that enforce traditional and damaging gender roles can be found anywhere; one needs only to turn on TV and watch for 30 seconds to prove this. Perhaps the new Reebok commercial will flash on in which the focus of the commercial (and the camera) is the buttocks of a woman. Is this really necessary? Will beer only sell if it objectifies women and conditions men to treat them in this way? And even so, is it okay for corporations to become morally bankrupt just to increase sales?

The close connection between marketing and objectifying women while hyper sexualizing men is a larger problem than many want to acknowledge or admit. Because this connection is evidently marketed to very young individuals, there holds little hope for the future as far as the freedoms and treatment of women and men.

In the instance of the enjoi labels, the narrowing down of women to the domestic sphere is completely unnecessary; I would imagine this to be true even for their sales. Since the label is inside of the shirt and away from the visibility of the buyer, it certainly doesn’t seem like it would affect sales either way. However, what it does affect is the many women who are continuously being pressured to perform in particular ways because of these messages.

Furthermore, if people are buying these shirts and supporting the companies—despite whether he or she knows about the label on the inside of the shirt—it is unlikely that these messages will change. For big corporations, little else matters other than sales. It is important to know what we are buying and to make sure we agree with any and ALL the messages the companies sends out. If the sales are not affected, these harmful messages will continue.


  1. I agree with this. It is completely unecessary to print something like that on a label. All that is doing is adding to the stereotype that women are in fact the ones that are expected to be doing the laundry. To go along with this, there is a commercial for CLorox Bleach that shows women in history doing laundry, and it fastforwards to women now still doing laundry. The commentators in the mean time are stating the fact that women doing laundry have been passed down from generation to generation, and although some things have changed like the clothing the men wear and that women wear, but the fact still remains that women are responsible for this domestic task.

  2. I think its perfect, now I know who washes the clothes. Women.
    Thanks Enjoi!
    -Love Kris, a young adult boy :)

  3. I have never purchased any of enjoi's products. It becomes more and more abundantly clear to me that I should though. I am all for the subjugation of women and enforcing that my woman does the laundry. Provided she has already cleaned the remainder of the house and has made a delicious deli meat sandwich.

    To blame enjoi for this blatant joke is asinine. If women want to do something about being objectified, that is the individual woman's perogative. Women actually objectify themselves if anything.

    You either have no sense of humor or need a little Panda Lovin. ;)

  4. Thank you! I showed my teenage son. And told him how wrong that was and I will never purchase another enjoi the shirt again!

  5. This DOES send the wrong message, these stereotypes are still believed by many men. My abusive ex was one of them. He believed in 'women's jobs' such as making the bed and doing his laundry. He would even bring his laundry from his place of living, where he had facilities (I didn't), just to try to make me do it. If I refused, or told him it was his mess as I was always gone for 2 weeks at a time to work in another province, he would throw a fit. He would yell, throw things, damage my property or physically threaten me until I gave in.
    Old-fashioned thinking prompted many of his attacks. That is how labels like this for brands that young kids worship is a problem. Lots of people are smart enough to differentiate, but not even close to all.