A brainwashed American might look at Mr. Clean and think to themselves, "A man used as an icon in cleaning product advertisement rather than the stereotypical housewife. That's the opposite of sexism!" Try turning off the television propaganda some time, Yankee imperialist! The European Parliament has taken up the burden of righting the wrongs of the advertising industry, by decrying grossly sexist images like the gender-dominant Mr. Clean:
Last week, the legislature voted 504 to 110 to scold advertisers for "sexual stereotyping," adopting a nonbinding report that seeks to prod the industry to change the way it depicts men and women. The lawmakers' ire has many targets, from a print ad for Dolce & Gabbana (which had a woman in spike heels pinned to the ground and surrounded by sweaty men in tight jeans) to Mr. Clean, the 1950s advertising icon whose muscular physique might imply that only a strong man is powerful enough to tackle dirt.
Shape up or face a scolding from a nonbinding report! Of course advertising is sexist, what with all its skinny models promoting masochism. But Europe is also off its rocker here. Tie goes to the powerful dirt-tackling power of Mr. Clean. [NYT]