Mom Blasts Clothing Line That Claims Laundry Is Women’s Work

The care label from the apparel brand Shoeshine is straight out of the 1950s.

(Photo: Facebook)

Feb 20, 2015· 1 MIN READ
Culture and education editor Liz Dwyer has written about race, parenting, and social justice for several national publications. She was previously education editor at Good.

Machine wash cold. Machine wash hot. Machine wash gentle cycle. Hand wash only. Don’t wash at all. Those are just some of the care instructions typically seen on the tags of pants and shirts. But according to Italian teen apparel company Shoeshine, the preferred way to keep our duds fresh and clean is through a method straight out of the 1950s.

“Give it to your mum it’s her job,” reads the care label on a sweater from the brand.

Federica Mazzoni, an Italian politician and mom, isn’t having it. She found out about the clothing company’s laundry instructions because a friend had purchased the sweater for her son, noticed the brand’s gender stereotyping, and brought it to Mazzoni’s attention. It pays to have friends who can put something like this on blast. Mazzoni just happens to work at the equality commission in Emilia-Romaga, a region in the north of Italy.

“Doing the washing is not the mother’s job, fathers are also capable of turning a simple knob,” Mazzoni wrote in the above photograph’s caption, which she posted to her Facebook page on Tuesday.

“Obviously it wasn’t enough for the company to provide all the necessary useful information, it felt the need to have its say, by perpetuating a sexist message about mothers and women, which is also insulting for men and fathers,” she continued.

Her Faceook post went viral, and the story was picked up by the Italian press, but Mazzoni isn’t content with protests on social media and in the newspaper. She has launched a formal complaint about Shoeshine’s labels with Italy’s advertising regulatory council. Some of Mazzoni’s Facebook followers have also called for a boycott of Shoeshine.

Whether that council requires Shoeshine to change its labels remains to be seen, but at least Italians have some formal recourse against stereotypical language. Here in the United States, folks who are fed up with clothing manufacturers such as Urban Outfitters selling offensive items—how about a sweatshirt reminscent of the Kent State massacre or an item that resembles the garments worn by gay prisoners in concentration camps?—only have the power of social media shaming through Twitter and Facebook.

Meanwhile, Unipersonale, the company that distributes Shoeshine, says the outrage is unwarranted. A representative dismissed claims that the care tag’s language is disparaging toward women. “There is no kind of sexist humor. It’s just a joke designed for teenagers who are our target,” said the representative, reported Tgcom24.