There’s a commercial that I’ve seen a couple times while I was over at Nani and Grumpa’s with the girls and I can’t help but internally wince every time I see it. It’s for laundry detergent and it shows a father who is looking for something to wipe his filthy hands on when he notices a white mini skirt (which apparently belongs to his daughter) drying with the rest of the laundry on a line outside. He goes over and grabs the skirt and wipes his hands off and then throws the skirt in the hamper.
In the next part of the commercial the daughter, a pretty, blonde teenager, finds her skirt with brown stains on it in the hamper and shows her mom, who makes a little face and reaches for the detergent (by the way, this makes me glad that I don’t use this particular detergent!).
And of course the commercial ends with the girl in her mini skirt saying goodbye to her unhappy looking father as she goes out the door in her barely there outfit with her mother smiling happily.
Where to even begin?
There’s just so much wrong with the picture that this commercial paints and perhaps the most disturbing part is that I’m sure it is a pretty accurate depiction of what goes on in many households in our culture.
Mothers who either want to be their daughters friend and put aside the role of mentor in an attempt to be “best friends” or who are attempting to relive the “glory days” of their youth aren’t doing their daughters any favors (I’m sure there are father’s who do this too, but probably less often with their female children… After all, what father wants to see his daughter dressing like she’s ready for a night out on the streets?).
I would say that the entire scene emasculates the father, but the fact is, in this scenario, the father was emasculated long before this situation unfolded. If he hadn’t been emasculated the commercial would have begun with him wiping his hands on the skirt and holding it up and saying “there’s no way you’re going to be leaving my house dressed like this.” Instead he slinks over and hides it in the hamper, hoping that he has ruined it, but unwilling to take a stand against his wife (who is apparently okay with the outfit) and daughter.
Which brings me to another story that came to mind as I was typing this. On Ash Wednesday when we went to Mass there was a beautiful young woman (I would guess around 18) who walked into Mass by herself, and stayed around after Mass looking at the pamphlets on celebrating Lent. I was impressed that she was there on her own and was glad that she had made it.
At the same time her outfit, a very expensive looking bright pink mini dress with gigantic hoop earrings and stiletto heels, would have seemed better placed at a night club than in Mass. Yet as I watched her briefly on her way into and out of Mass, it was clear that she had absolutely no idea that there was anything odd or inappropriate about the outfit.
And then the thought popped into my head: she’s never been taught that it’s inappropriate!
It’s almost as if dressing modestly and being conscious of dressing modestly, has become a lost art. Dressing sexually is so commonplace that girls and young women do it without giving what they are depicting a second thought. I imagine there’s a very good chance that the young woman on Ash Wednesday got dressed up to go to Mass. However, without any solid grounding or education on what was appropriate she relied on what she sees on a daily basis passing for “dressed up” and the result was what we saw.
We have a duty to our children to teach them to respect themselves. Girls are taught these days that they can be whatever they want to be and do whatever the boys can do, but the message that their femininity is a gift from God is put aside as something from a bygone era. Actual feminine grace is replaced with an overly sexualized show that debases what we truly are.
And that, like that particular Tide commercial, is very, very sad…