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Video shows women how to incorporate exercise into household cleaning regime

Victoria Pendleton, who is going for gold at the Olympics in London this August, is once again the face of a New Year campaign by Hovis to encourage people to get fit and healthy in the year ahead. But is it one that could unwittingly lead the Olympic champion, herself an outspoken critic of sexism in sport, into the minefield that of gender politics surrounding the issue of housework... and specifically, who does it?

In the wake of securing that gold medal at Beijing, Pendleton accused the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and world cycling’s governing body, the UCI, of sexism due to the female track cyclists having fewer events at Beijing than their male counterparts.

That gender imbalance has now been remedied – there will be five events for both men and women at the Olympic Park’s Velodrome this summer, and as well as seeking to retain her individual sprint title, Pendleton is also targeting the team sprint and the keirin.

But at a time when female road cyclists are calling for fairer treatment, the latest campaign by the Premier Foods-owned brand, while a good example of pre-Olympic ambush marketing, risks reinforcing gender stereotypes.

In a video accompanying the launch of a Hovis Facebook app aimed at helping people achieve their fitness goals, the 31-year-old says: “The secret to a healthy lifestyle is not crash diets or marathons from scratch, it’s about setting your own realistic, achievable targets that fit around your lifestyle.”

She goes on to do show women how to achieve that – with stretching exercises while doing the vacuuming, using jars in the kitchen as weights, or getting a good workout while mopping the floor.

Now, market research consistently proves that women are much more likely than men to undertake household chores in the first place, and also to spend more time on them.

Factor in childcare responsibilities among those with children and perhaps the demands of a job too, and it can be difficult to find time to exercise.

Incorporating a fitness regime into aspects of your daily routine can be one way of overcoming those time pressures.

We can’t be alone in thinking, however, that Hovis could have perhaps found a better way of getting that message across.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

18 comments

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Coleman [335 posts] 4 years ago
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"We can’t be alone in thinking, however, that Hovis could have perhaps found a better way of getting that message across."

Pose naked on a bike?

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Chiswick [45 posts] 4 years ago
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I can only hope it's ironically retro... And who's that person lurking behind her as she's mopping the floor?

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Simon E [2850 posts] 4 years ago
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Quote:

stretching exercises while doing the vacuuming, using jars in the kitchen as weights, or getting a good workout while mopping the floor.

You're pulling my leg, surely! Have we gone back to the 1950s?

People don't need a "fitness regime", they need to get out into the real world - ride bikes, walk more etc. It's explained here: http://road.cc/47292

Hovis don't give a shit about your health or your weight, they just want you to buy their crappy factory bread  31 Do yourself a favour and eat more real food.

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Raleigh [1667 posts] 4 years ago
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Well at least it's not negatively weighted to women, in that they're [hovis] completely not trying.

That's not sexist, it's satirical.

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Simon_MacMichael [2466 posts] 4 years ago
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Simon E][quote wrote:

they just want you to buy their crappy factory bread  31 Do yourself a favour and eat more real food.

I'm pleased to confirm that our editor Tony makes his own bread, and very tasty it is too  1

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RoadChimp [18 posts] 4 years ago
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MMMmmmm Banana sandwich.

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antonio [1134 posts] 4 years ago
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Dettol appears to have got a free plug in there I notice.

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Karbon Kev [688 posts] 4 years ago
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who cares if it's sexist really? Victoria is sexy and thats all that matters surely ...

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WolfieSmith [1327 posts] 4 years ago
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I'm not sure who they ask during market research. I do my share of cleaning, clothes washing and dish washing and cool most of the meals in our house and I know plenty of men who do their bit. It's becoming like the myth that women are safer drivers when they seem to
break the speed limit and drive as aggressively as men these days.

Yours sincerely

Renaissance Man

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Simon_MacMichael [2466 posts] 4 years ago
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Disclosure: I did spend a chunk of my career in consumer research, and I did double-check some recent (and robust in terms of sample size and being nationally representative) surveys before writing the article.

Yes, there are more households nowadays in which the workload is shared; but in most, the burden for keeping the house clean and tidy does fall on the female. The gap is narrowing slowly, but it definitely still exists.

Not backed up by anything other than anecdotal evidence, but I'm pretty certain your average bloke's idea of 'tidy' is rather different from that of his partner  3

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caketaster [17 posts] 4 years ago
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It's not sexist. Women generally do the housework, it's a fact, how is that sexist?? I believe they're also less likely to try and find time specifically for exercise than men, so this is useful stuff.

Get over yourselves and stop trying to find things to get offended about.

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andyp [1473 posts] 4 years ago
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'I'm pretty certain your average bloke's idea of 'tidy' is rather different from that of his partner'
(looks at living room, then looks at garage)

Aye, he's got a point there...

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Squiggle [403 posts] 4 years ago
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Like most Olympic year ads... CRRRRRRRINGE!!!!!!!!! But this really is hilarious, it's like a sketch from the Fast Show!

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Squiggle [403 posts] 4 years ago
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At least the ad does clearly state that you should seek medical advice before attempting any of the Hovis excercises... Such as cleaning the floor or vacuuming???? Hmmmm better schedule a doctors appointment or my house is going to be a right state this year!

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Simon_MacMichael [2466 posts] 4 years ago
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caketaster wrote:

It's not sexist. Women generally do the housework, it's a fact, how is that sexist?? I believe they're also less likely to try and find time specifically for exercise than men, so this is useful stuff.

Get over yourselves and stop trying to find things to get offended about.

The points in your first paragraph are all covered in the article. we're not saying we're offended (although I certainly imagine some could be by it), but we do wonder if the message could have been got across better.

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hoski [83 posts] 4 years ago
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caketaster wrote:

It's not sexist. Women generally do the housework, it's a fact, how is that sexist?? I believe they're also less likely to try and find time specifically for exercise than men, so this is useful stuff.

Get over yourselves and stop trying to find things to get offended about.

You're wrong. It is sexist, mostly because of its adherence to gender stereotypes and patronising tone. As the article says, it's the delivery that is dubious.

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PhilRuss [390 posts] 4 years ago
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Hoski----if the floor in the ad. was being cleaned by a bloke, there'd be a flood of complaints because "that wouldn't be reflecting reality", surely. Roll on, robots.
P.R.

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Ciaran Patrick [116 posts] 4 years ago
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For me its more about the quality of the bread that has me confused. How can the so called Hovis rubbish we are served up with in our local supermarkets and the tie in with healthy living and diet go together. Its a total oxymoron.

It like having BMW sponsoring the Olympics and a healthier form of living while there car pump out load of crap.

Sexist - couldn't care less. Maybe we need more specific targeted advertising, that aims to inform and inspire various specific groups, or genders. It may work better than general promotions which is aimed at everyone, and affects or inspires absolutely no one.