Posted by: alliehackbarth | March 13, 2013

“Dear Breadwinners,” Initial Post 3/14

I saw this commercial over break and was very intrigued by the message.
The commercial opens up like many fashion commercials; women looking through closets, dressing in style…but six seconds in the commercial added a twist. It issues “Dear Breadwinners..” We have used this phrase countless times in class in how it categorizes the role of men as the provider of the household and is only now starting to slowly include women. JcPenny, a billion dollar company with over one-thousand stores across the U.S is airing a commercial identifying the women as breadwinners! The thirty-one second AD solely focuses on dressing women for success. Not once does it show or deal with men, therefore making the statement that women are as capable to be the providers in the household.
Although this is encouraging there are always questionable motives behind any advertisement. JcPenny has a new line of women’s clothes that they are attempting to sell. Encouraging women by sending out positive images of other women in the workplace with confidence and style is a tactic to sell clothes for profit. It would not have been effective to present a new fashion line of business clothes and show women doing housework and taking care of the kids in professional wear. However, this shows that there is a high enough demand for these clothes for a company such as JcPenny to purchase and promote. JcPenny did a fair job of showing women in professional business clothes that were more conservative than “sexy.” It showed a variety of long skirts, dresses and pants. Giving women the option and capability of a wide variety of professional options encourages them that there are options out there. It would have been disappointing to see JcPenny to present the same commercial but with women in more “revealing” manner in a professional setting.
I think the best part of the commercial how it ended, at 27 seconds one of the models comes home to her family, embracing her children. This is a point and a reminder to show that women are becoming breadwinners but are able juggle their career with children.


  1. This is really interesting. I’m a critic by nature though, and as much of a step in the right direction for pushing on social roles this ad conveys, it also states “let’s redecorate the office…starting with you!” To me, this statement unfortunately still emphasizes women as objects, and in this case to be a visually appealing piece of “the office”. Credit to JCPenney’s for a good start though!

  2. I have to agree with Dr. Shollen on this. When I saw that comment in the commercial, I got the message that “You aren’t quite pretty enough, so let’s give you a make-over so then you can do great things.” I think this still shows that women are seen for their looks rather than their accomplishments. I still think the fact that JCPenney felt the need to make a commercial advertising business clothes for women definitely shows a huge step in the right direction, but I also think the way they went about the advertisement shows that there are still changes that need to be made.

  3. Although I see everyone’s point about it objectifying women, I actually really appreciate this commercial and think it represents a clean and empowering vision for women. I find the “Dear Breadwinners” title very engaging and clever, as it is the opposite of what we have seen and heard for decades. I don’t think it is fair to focus on the objectification aspect because the POINT of the commercial is to advertise clothes, and looks, so that component is slightly unavoidable. I appreciated that all of the tops were generally high-necked, and the skirts knee-length or close to it. All of the women in this commercial appear confident and go-getters, with the song brightening the mood repeating “you are the sunshine”. JC Penney should get some serious credit for this ambitious advertisement, as it is not something that is commonly seen and grabs your attention while on TV.

  4. I like the commercial, I think that encouraging women to be in the work force is great! I see how it could be objectifying women, however, a lot of women are very self-conscious about their bodies and this commercial could encourage them to buy new clothes that make them feel good about themselves in the business world without being “sexy”, showing to everyone that they are feminine but are great in the work force too.

  5. I don’t necessarily consider this objectifying women, I think they are simply trying to appeal to both the tendency for women to be more inclined to fashion as well as the idea that you want to look your best and stand out in your job. I understand that the phrase “let’s redecorate the office starting with you” could be taken negatively though I also just think it might be a cute catchphrase people are likely to remember, which is the whole point of advertising. What I would say would make it better would be using real business women or individuals who look like they might be real business women and not just models.

  6. I think this commercial is very inspiring for women. Many of the women in the commercial displayed high self-confidence and a ‘go-getter’ sort of attitude. In addition, I like how the commercial ended with a mom being hugged by her children after a long day of work. I believe it shows that women are appreciated by the members of their household for what they do in the work force. Also, we need to keep in mind that this commercial is marketed towards fashion, so I am not so concerned with the message “let’s decorate the office…” because they try to convey the same message in commercials for male viewers ( Fashion industries market their products with the same messages. By adding a new wardrobe for women, it might bring life back into the office and allow for people take notice (male or female) on how someone is dressed for the day.

  7. This is very interesting! I think this is an awesome commercial. I hate it when commercials show women wearing revealing clothing in a business setting because it gives the wrong message. That a women’s main asset is her beauty. I disagree with this. It should be her capabilities. Women wearing appropriate clothing shows that women can be taken seriously. The one thing I do not like about this commercial is that is shows the woman playing the breadwinner/mom role without a problem. Obviously this is not an easy task and it may give women the idea that they are responsible for playing both roles which can increase stress greatly.

  8. At first I thought this commercial was going to be an awesome step in the right direction towards accepting women as being able to be the main breadwinners. The females in the video were on their way to the office looking like women without having to attempt to appear dressed as men or in a more masculine way. However, I got a little frustrated because the commercial essentially implied that the women were redecorating the office by wearing nicer clothes and looking beautiful. It really made me feel like they were being objectified and just objects to make a setting more beautiful rather than someone truly capable of “bringing home the bacon”

  9. I took this commercial in a positive manner having seen it myself. It showed to me, like the initial blog poster said, that women do have the ability to be the breadwinners and apart of the work force. It reminded me that it is not all about the men being the main front at home, but women have the equal share in influence of the home and they also have the main responsibility of balancing taking care of the children as well. But what I really liked about this commercial was the clothes and how after hearing so much in the PLP program that women especially need to be aware of their dress, the commercial provided the perfect look to a professional woman. They made the women seem confident and clean cut, not revealing too much, yet still looking well put together and in control. Although I would have liked the focus to not be around the fashion industry, but instead other leadership women roles, it did show the professional look and image can be successfully achieved. I think it also was trying to appeal to their desired targets of working women, proving that more and more women are becoming successful and leaders within higher up business and professional positions. Businesses chose the target audience they wish to project to, so by showing this was their chosen audience, we see that there must be a big enough market for them to aim at. Showing evidence of how our society is becoming increasingly accepting and aware of the increase of women leaders in the work force as women do in fact slowly become breadwinners.

  10. Encouraging women to step out of their typical simple household role and empowering them to pursue a career where they would be able to be the “breadwinner” is a positive aspect of this commercial. I agree that women should not be objectified especially not in the work place. Women should be encouraged to be professional aspects in the workforce and not simply something to look at. Women should be appreciated for their contributions to the team’s efforts. Although this commercial is encouraging women to have a career I feel that at the same time it is objectifying them.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: