Calpol: pain relief with a little gender role reinforcement on the side.

// 19 January 2009

This advert for Calpol has been causing twenty second bursts of intense pain in my brain recently:

Because for boys getting back to their ‘normal’ selves means racing around on scooters, having water fights and scaring little girls with slimy worms, while for girls it means wearing pink, playing with mummy’s make-up and screaming at said worms.

Comforting stuff.

Comments From You

Ruth Moss // Posted 19 January 2009 at 3:45 pm

Bloody Calpol.

If they’re not practically encouraging you to drug your children in hope of a good night’s sleep (or was that Medised?) they’re reinforcing gender stereotypes…

Shouldn’t be surprised, really… but still.

Hannah // Posted 20 January 2009 at 2:06 am

I’ll admit, some of the gender stereotyping went right over my head when I first saw this advert, but the one that did stick out in my mind is the clip with the worm. I always find anything that merchandises or normalizes the idea of torturing and bullying girls to young boys is disgusting and a little uncomfortable to watch.

Naomi // Posted 20 January 2009 at 12:13 pm

This is the sort of thing that makes me feel sick.

Somewhat relatedly, I wrote a post the other day about the fundamentally sexist depictions of animals and female animals in cartoons. I’ve since been told that cbeebies is an exception to this and that the programs on there try to be gender neutral … i hope this is true.

Kez // Posted 20 January 2009 at 1:22 pm

That’s the first time I’ve seen the ad (I don’t watch much telly). The usual boys = little monsters, girls = pretty princesses nonsense, I see. I swear gender stereotyping is at its worst for this age group (and younger) – you only have to look at the clothes, slogans etc available. (Trying to buy a bib for my daughter, I had a choice between a blue one reading “Here Comes Trouble” and a pink one reading “Little Angel”.)

Of course, the marketing is aimed at parents, not children. So this must be what they think we want. Which is depressing.

sianmarie // Posted 20 January 2009 at 1:32 pm

i noticed this too, glad it wasn’t just me. the same was true of the ad that said your kids are more likely to smoke if you smoke too. they had children copying their parents – the girls copied putting on make up, cleaning, gossiping on the phone, whilst the boys copied their dads watching tv, playing sport and washing the car.

but i felt i couldn’t complain as it was for a good cause, but i was furious!

Lara // Posted 20 January 2009 at 2:16 pm

I know plenty of little boys who have tried on their mums make up and clothes on – to the horror of their male relatives.

Bumble // Posted 20 January 2009 at 2:26 pm

I thought this post was going to be about that its always the stereotypically femininely-pretty mummy figure looking after the sick children, never ever the Dad. But, yes, that too!

Eleanor T // Posted 21 January 2009 at 1:08 am

And THIS, my dear feminist chums, is why my husband and I are not telling people the sex of our unborn baby. The longer I can delay gender stereotyping the better.

Feckin’ pink and blue CRAP!!

Maria (aka Songstermom) // Posted 25 February 2009 at 7:14 pm

Took the liberty of using your headline as my comment on youtube and linked to this article. I hope it gets your article lots of readers.

(Apologies I should have credited you more obviously in the comment though.)


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