Sociologists Arlie Hochschild and Anne Machung used “the second shift” to refer to the responsibilities of childcare and housework borne disproportionately by women, in addition to their paid labor.
A student in Will LaSuer’s class at the University of Akron noticed that a 5-Hour Energy ad explicitly references this idea of a second shift for women. A harried mom with an armful of groceries enters a home full of yelling kids. She talks about getting home from her first job to start her second job, and how worn out this can make her:
Of course, the ad doesn’t actually critique this arrangement or the organization of household duties. The second shift is taken for granted, an unavoidable burden. Consumption provides the answer: buy a product that gives you more energy so you can tackle that second job when you get home. Problem solved!Gwen Sharp is an associate professor of sociology at Nevada State College. You can follow her on Twitter at @gwensharpnv.