A television commercial for a laundry detergent in India urging men to pitch in to help women with household chores has gone viral in the U.S., even earning a thumbs up from one of Silicon Valley’s most powerful women, Sheryl Sandberg.
The ad shows a father in India watching his daughter as she busily takes care of housework, her kid, and cooks after work, while his son-in-law sits idly in front of the TV. The scene eventually prompts the guilt-ridden dad to write a letter.
“My little baby girl. You’re all grown up now. You used to play house. And now you manage your own house and your office. I am so proud and I am so sorry,” the father says in the ad.
“I never told you that it’s not your job alone, but your husband’s too but how could I have said it, when I never helped your mom either,” the father continues. “Your husband must have learnt the same from his dad.... Sorry on behalf of his dad ... sorry on behalf of every dad who set the wrong example.”
Since its release last week on YouTube, the ad has traveled far from India. One notable fan is Facebook COO Sandberg, who posted the ad on her social network profile and applauded its message, embodied by the ad’s hashtag #SharetheLoad.
What do you think of the ad? Does what it depicts ring true in your own household?
Here are some caller comments:
Sarah in Yorba Linda: I’m an Anglo-American and I’m married to a Korean man who was brought up in Korean and lives here now. We both work, he comes from a very wealthy Korean family, very traditional. When he comes home he will always jump in and do the dishes [and] help fold laundry. We crack up because if his mother were to know, he would die. He would absolutely die. It’s just not appropriate for men in his culture to be doing dishes at all or folding laundry. Even though she’s a fabulous mother-in-law, it’s beneath their culture. Men do not do that.
Simon in Studio City: I’m geriatric 57 and I do all the cooking our house. My father was a policeman and my mother would kill you with her cooking, so my dad always cooked; so I learned from an early age to do all the cooking in the house. Because I work earlier, I do most of the cleaning, I do all the shopping and pretty much all the laundry apart from the folding and my wife does all the finances. So it works out.
Amy in Montrose: My husband is Native American and his father is so traditional, he’s never changed a diaper. So growing up in a household like that, it’s not that he doesn’t want to contribute it’s that he literally does not have the skills. He doesn’t know how to wash a dish properly; he can’t do laundry without ruining something that belongs to me.
You can’t teach him how to do that effectively?
Amy in Montrose: Well I’ll tell you what, we’re learning. He’s gotten much better in the last five years. He tried to get a job as a janitor in college and was fired. They told him, “You didn’t see the dirt, you didn’t do it right.”
Note: This comments have been edited for clarity.
This story has been updated.