Because I’m Worth….a Paper Plate?

July 1, 2008 at 1:12 am (Uncategorized)

In the midst of all the recent advertising stressing greener bourgeois living–carrying reusable bags to the grocery, using a water filter instead of buying lots of little bottles of water, riding bikes to work instead of driving–I stumbled upon a rather incongruous commercial extolling the merits of Dixie paper plates.  It wasn’t the usual commercial set in the garden party where the host who chose Dixie is rewarded by not seeing her guests covered in the chicken grease that seeped through the cheaper stuff at the inferior party.

No, this new commercial begins with an affirmation: “I will no longer be defined by how many dishes I do!” (Emphasis mine).  Another woman explains that Dixie paper plates allow her to spend quality time with her family, instead of at the sink.  Another woman praises the plates for “standing up to her grandmother’s marinara.”

So, according to the commercial, Dixie plates help women find their self worth.  Mind you, if all your life you measured your worth in clean DISHES, paper plates are not going to save you.  You have a long, long, road of self discovery and self esteem-building ahead.

Dixie also allows women to spend time with their children.  Because children lose out when mommy has to do the dishes.  Because it would be stupid and unfair to involve the children in a joint post-meal clean-up, right?  We enjoy the food that others cook and now we get to play.  Do real children live like this?  I sure didn’t.  Every night I and my cousins had to clear the table, wash the dishes, wipe down the counters, sweep the floor, and take out the garbage.  Now, I don’t expect other households to be as strict as mine was, but there’s nothing wrong with teaching the kids to pitch in and clean up.  It can be done in a fun, sharing way.  And that is time well spent.  Much better than throwing the paper plate away so we can all get to the TV.

Dixie, even though it is cheap and disposable, can also help forge strong links to your past.  So, yes, you use shitty paper plates because you are lazy and selfish, but you can still serve grandma’s marinara on them.  Grandma would be proud.

I wish the Dixie commercial were more honest.  I know, that’s incredibly naive of me.  But, seriously, I would be so much more inclined to pick up a pack of Dixie plates if the women in the commercial just came out and said, “You know what, sometimes no one around here feels like doing the dishes, and so we use paper plates because they are convenient.”  Enough of this hyperengaged motherhood bullshit where women must be tricked into thinking that doing chores is actually lessening their ability to be good mothers or worthy human beings. 



  1. ashyknees said,

    Greener bourgeois living?

    I call it greener cheap living–not cluttering up my small apartment with a bunch of disposable shopping bags, saving money on water, saving money on gas and parking, etc.

    Yes, the paper plate commercial seems insane.

  2. Quiconque said,

    The commercials to which I refer are aimed at a bourgeois audience: the woman featured therein does her part by taking her large pink embossed leather suitcase set to the supermarket.

  3. ashyknees said,

    Ha! She’s super-sized Barbie’s accessories.

    Sorry to be so picky about the green business. There’s no question that green living is a sign of status, but Whole Foods prices aside, I think that the people who benefit most from greener living are people trying to save money. Also — as long as I’m preaching to the choir– I the people who are hit hardest by environmental problems are the people with the least money and status.

  4. Ten Feet of Steel said,

    Since the majority of TV commercials are aimed at a bourgeois audience anyway, and since the bourgeoisie are the prime consumers in our society (and therefore the prime generators of waste, pollutants, greenhouse gases, etc.), I have no problems with greenness being advertised on TV to the bourgeoisie.

    The thing that gets me frustrated is when false or meaningless “greenness” becomes a label for people to buy into without any fundamental changes being made to the products that sport it. Then it’s just more consumption of abstract branding rather than any real step toward a less environmentally damaging lifestyle.

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