Swiffer Appropriates Feminist Icon To Promote Mopping The Kitchen

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Swiffer, the company that makes disposable mopping and sweeping products, is running an advertisement that uses the famous feminist icon Rosie the Riveter to sell its product.

It’s not clear how widely circulated the advertisment is. But BoingBoing caught a twitter user’s picture of it this weekend. She told ThinkProgress that she spotted the ad in a Sunday morning paper insert. It’s obvious the image is meant to evoke the famed “We Can Do It” poster, even as it’s depicting a woman cleaning the house — something that doesn’t quite play into feminist accomplishments:

The Rosie the Riveter image originated as a propaganda poster during World War II, when women were called on to work in factories as the men of the country headed off to battle. Since its inception, the image has been used by feminists to encapsulate a powerful woman: Sleeves rolled up, showing her muscles, and ready to work.

The image is perhaps particularly insulting as it comes out just days after the news that, more than ever, women are becoming primary or co-breadwinners in their households. But Swiffer does get one thing right in their targeted advertising: As women are doing more work in the office, they are still expected to provide most of the help in the kitchen.


As the Atlantic Wire points out, the Rosie-like image is also on the box of the product, and the company is using the image on a webpage dedicated to promoting it.

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A Swiffer representative clarified to ThinkProgress that the image is only on advertising, and not on the box of the product: “It appeared on some advertising material and we are working to remove the image as quickly as possible,” she said.

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