Friday Question of the Day – Is This Logo a Tribute or Offensive?

Logo via Maid to Clean’s Facebook page

Dear PoPville,

Would the commentariat please weigh in on an office debate about whether the local “Maid to Clean” logo is at all offensive? Some would argue that they’ve highjacked a famous symbol of female empowerment to suggest that their mostly female staff are born to clean.

Rosie the Riveter via Wikipedia

73 Comment

  • I like it. I don’t think it’s offensive, and, for what it’s worth, this is coming from someone who used to run a gender and development working group.

    In response to the writer’s comment:

    ‘Some would argue that they’ve highjacked a famous symbol of female empowerment to suggest that their mostly female staff are born to clean.’

    That’s exactly what they did. It doesn’t state that they are ‘born to clean’ though, it uses a friendly play on words. I think it’s a cheap rip-off of a ‘sacred’ symbol, if you will, but not offensive.

    I think it’s empowering if a woman has a job at all, esp one she takes pride in and/or ownership of in a playful way. I’m curious to hear how the majority of people who have taken the poll thus far think this is ‘offensive’. If anything I’d recommend they create a new logo to set their own trend. 🙂

    • ‘Maid to Clean’ create a new logo, I mean, not the people taking the poll. But I’m sure they’d have some good ideas, too. 🙂

    • Well put. It’s not like these women have been enslaved to clean houses.

    • Wait? What? @horseshoe, you think “it’s empowering if a woman has a job at all”?

      What decade are we living in, the 50s? THAT’s offensive.

      • I’m about to blow your minds. That’s a MAN in the picture.


        • I actually dated the real Rosie’s granddaughter. She lives in Northern VA. Denfinately was a woman….although her grandmother didn’t realize this picture was her image until many years after the war.

        • Gender Equality,

          This is an image of myself, Cinderella Bermudez, owner of Maid To Clean, call me up, I am not a man, however, catch me during a moment of PMS and I am sure I have some manly words to share with you.

      • Wait? What? It’s not the 50s?

        Now that I re-read it I see how it reads, which can be mispresentative of my actual point. Sorry about that. In short, I that I think it’s inspiring when a woman has a job – one that is so often associated with traditional gender roles – which she takes pride and ownership in (same goes for a man). I don’t know if ’empowering’ is the best way to put it. I think that term gets unduly thrown around a lot (i.e., in my original post). In any case, frankly I think it’s great if anyone has a job in this economy but that’s a different conversation…

  • I think “offensive” is strong, but I don’t like it. Rosie was about getting women out of the traditional mother-wife-cook-housekeeper role. They got it backwards.

    • I was under the impression that Rosie was aimed at getting women into the role of contributing to the war effort/economy, not necessarily getting her out of traditional housewife/mother role. I could be wrong, but I think it was less about eschewing gender norms than it was about entering the workforce. Women who are employed by this company are in the workforce. It’s also very possible that men are employed as housecleaners too. The wonderful husband and wife couple that my parents have hired as housecleaners seem to do an equal role in cleaning, and I imagine they do relatively well for themselves, as they do a great job and are friendly, attentive people.

      • this is completely correct. not only was she a piece of propaganda to mobilize women to work during the war effort, but the propaganda machine after the war churned out messages to get women back into the home. deploying Rosie for feminist purposes is a little misinformed but certainly understandable.

        • sorry; just to complete the thought: not offensive. i don’t think it was ever about women’s lib, nor do I think this is.

  • It is offensive, even though, ironically, it fits with the original message of Rosie the Riveter, which basically implied the women would just do work while the men were gone, and then return to “The kitchen” after the war was over.

    • Do you think in this age of increasing levels of accomplishment among women relative to men — particularly in this area — concerns like those over this image are increasingly less relevant? I’m not disagreeing necessarily, just interested in feedback.

    • still waiting for my wife to ever enter the kitchen.

      • heeeeyyy-oooo!!!! andy in for the zing!

      • Forget your wife entering the kitchen! Call Maid to Clean, we will enter your kitchen and let your wife enter into a clean bedroom. The bedroom might be more fun than the kitchen. Order in and hit the sack!

  • Allow me to nerd out for a second: ‘Rosie the Riveter’ wasn’t associated with this particular photo until the 80s, when the meaning took on a more loaded meaning than compared to what it represented during the war-era, FYI. There were songs and other posters re: ‘Rosie the Riveter’ during the war-era but not this Westinghouse photo.

  • These women are using an iconic image to advertise a women-owned and operated business. The image pays homage to the women who came before them, those who worked incredibly hard in the factories and mills to support the war effort. The owners are recognizing that they have had the freedom and opportunity to start their own business, standing on the shoulders of those who blazed the trail. How can this possibly be offensive? It is a message to the world that they are strong and empowered.

    • bfinpetworth

      I’m on the fence on this one. But here’s how it could “possibly be offensive”: the image carries an implication that women, generally, are made to clean. Combine that implication with the iconic rosie the riveter image, and you have turned Rosie metaphorically on her head. And despite the fact that women have reached such high levels of achievement professionally, there remains a significant gap between men and women when they come home at night and weekends with respect to who does the housework. Women continue to carry that burden despite professional equality with their spouses. Indeed, there appears to be a good portion of men who actually believe that women are made to clean. And trust me, I know I’m generalizing and there are many exceptions. But study after study bears this out – women carry a disproportionate load within the household.

        • Your post reflects a heterosexist view of the world. There are many gay couples in this city who would laugh at your assertion that “there remains a significant gap between men and women when they come home at night and weekends with respect to who does the housework.” Maybe in your straight world, but not in mine.

          • bfinpetworth

            Well, since I’m a lesbian living with a long-term partner, you are incorrect. It is not a heterosexist view of the world – it is a statement of fact about the general state of male-female households as quantified in multiple studies over the years. Even in my gay household, in which we are a couple that engage in the world as a classic butch-femme dichotomy (me being the male-identied partner), those behaviors are transcendent.

            So who’s making assumptions here, Hal??

          • I’m not making any assumptions, just stating facts. It is too bad (mostly for your femme partner) that you have decided to model your relationship after heterosexual marriage. So I guess she does all the housework and cooking while you take out the trash when you aren’t laying on the couch drinking beer and watching football. My point is that gay men don’t assume those traditional roles and don’t ape hetero marriage. Because there is no female to do the traditional “woman’s work” they work it out between themselves.

      • slickhop


        And um, FWIW another queer weighing in and saying this isn’t heterosexist. bfinpetworth was very clear about indicating that there were exceptions to her point, just that (“studies show…”) in most households women bear disproportionate burden of “housework.”

        My partner and I have definitely worked out our own system (which for ages involved me caring and thus cleaning and him not caring and thus NOT cleaning, but we’ve recently reached this nice place where he does an ish load of laundry and we pay a cleaning service — may I recc’d Mobley’s Stressless Cleaning Service? — so that we don’t hate each other), but it only sort of involved our homo super powers of egalitarianism ….

        Now we need to stop in-fighting to preserve illusion of LGBTQ bloc solidarity 🙂

        • bfinpetworth

          Thanks. I’ll take that recommendation, as we are seeking that same “egalitarian” solution.

          And to Hal – i actually do all thecooking, although not very often due to time constraints. And my femme partner says to not feel sorry for her cuz we’re working it out! Oh, and I know plenty of gay male couples that take on gender roles. Your view of gay life seems very limited!

    • I don’t really think it’s offensive, I more have a problem of the blatant rip off of the original. I do think they could have taken it a bit further, instead of just tracing right over.

      • Dear Lizzindc,

        This image became public domain after 50 years. I have legally trademarked this image. Check the trademark records. If you live in our service area, we would love to clean your house and share with you our commitment to great cleaning!

    • Right on target, Hal9000! The images are of strong women who are getting the job done!

  • Honestly, I don’t see the offense. A) The original was propaganda for women to come out of the home and work while the men were away, intended to allay their fears that they couldn’t be as good as men. Not exactly an original note of strength, but rather placating. After that it was hijacked. B) If this business truly has women working, then why should they NOT take pride in their work? When did we, as women, decide the value of a woman’s work if it didn’t fit into what we deemed as appropriate women’s work after we left the kitchen? Is a woman that cleans, cooks or (godforbid) stays at home with her children less of a woman or role model?

  • I don’t think it is offensive in message, mostly because it says that these women are going to do their best to do very hard work. I am more upset that they copied the logo and didn’t come up with anything on their own.

    • Agreed. Maid to Clean I don’t find offensive, using the logo = offensive.

      • I’ve even seen better take offs of this logo. Put some more effort in than changing her hair and putting gloves on. For pity’s sake, all the details are identical. even the folds in the shirt and scarf are identical!

  • I’m not offended by the logo, but I am offended by the lameness of your office debates.

  • It’s only offensive if you stigmatize cleaning as a profession. If the ad was for a proctologist, then I might think it could be a tad risqué.

  • It’s offensive because graphically it’s terrible.

    • Anonymous,

      Contact me, I am happy to pay for improved graphics! Call Cinderella at Maid To Clean.

    • Anonymous,

      Contact me, I am happy to pay for improved graphics! I am always on the look out for “new and improved”. CB at Maid to Clean

  • It’s quite a clever marketing ploy. It capitalizes on gender stereotypes, people’s affinity for retro type logos, nostalgia for Rosie, and a symbol of female empowerment. Not to mention that it indicates capability and strength and makes you confident they can clean even your years of grime ridden filth. I am, however, offended by their need to place 3 registered trademark symbols on a single image.

  • It is my preference to have maids wearing short black dresses and garters. No cleaning for my maids, just dusting in hard-to-reach areas.

    Some guys like the manly ones. To each their own.

    What were we talking about again?

  • I don’t think the slogan “Maid To Clean” is offensive as that’s what a Maid’s job is. I’m not sure I’m a fan of the fact they’ve swapped out Rosie with a woman with hispanic features and cleaning gloves. Offensive, no. I’d say more insolent than anything else.

    I’d change it if I owned the company. Whoever created it did a good job though. Obviously talented.



    • Really? I see a dark haired woman who yes could be Hispanic, or even Latina. Possibly Italian, Greek or from some other Mediterranean land. Heck I’ve even seen some dark haired swedes that look like that….

      • That’s a man. Check out the adams apple.

      • anon,

        This is an image of myself, Cinderella Bermudez, owner of Maid to Clean and I am Hispanic, Latina, Texan, hardworking. The adams apple might come from bending over toilets and holding my breath.

  • when I saw the post title I honestly was hoping for some seriously offensive content. You let me down PoP.

  • “Some would argue that they’ve highjacked a famous symbol of female empowerment to suggest that their mostly female staff are born to clean.”

    Ugh, people read in to things too much these days. That was the last thing I would have ever, ever assumed from that logo.

  • My first instinct was “offensive,” but I think I’ve changed my mind. I agree with the poster who said it was only offensive if you stigmatize cleaning as a profession. I mean, is housecleaning (typically done by women) that much worse than factory work (typically, in Rosie the Riveter days, done by men)? I think its a cheap rip-off of a famous image, sure, but only offensive if you look down on housecleaning. This logo conveys, to me, that employees take pride in their work and are kind of badass.

    “Maid to Clean” bothers me more, honestly, but just because I don’t like the term “maid.”

  • Since I believe in all honest labor, I don’t find this offensive. These women do hard wrk and the ad implies they do it well, all for an honest wage. Nothing wrong with that. Maybe I would find it offensive if I felt guilt over hiring someone to do my cleaning?

    And a note to the earlier poster who claimed the Maid image had changed the original image to incorporate Hispanic features: If you look online, the woman in the original “We Can Do It” poster had dark hair and dark eyes too, so with only those clues to go on, she might have been Hispanic in the first place. Though the original woman was drawn by a much better artist.

  • Listen, OP, I think it’s harsh to assume that all these women can do is clean. I’m sure they make fine sandwiches too.

  • ahem, let’s try this again:


  • Not offensive at all. My view is that if you feel the logo implies anything about women’s roles or gender stereotypes then you’re reading way too much into it. Which is fine for recreational debate, but not much more.

  • Hmm… not offensive per se, but definitely a cheap rip-off (as others have commented).

  • Interesting background on the original “We Can Do It!” image:!

    The Wikipedia entry notes: “The image has been weakened by corporations such as Clorox who used it in advertisements for household cleaners, the pictured woman provided in this instance with a wedding ring for her left hand.”

  • I voted neutral. It’s neither a tribut nor offensive to me, just good advertising. Funny, I’ve walked by that logo a million times and never put 2 and 2 together that it was Rosie the Riveter. Whoever came up with the idea is marketing saavy because I my eye is always drawn to it.

  • There should be a hot, buff guy in this logo.

    A question I always ponder–why do cleaning commercials always feature women happily going about house-work? If they really want to target the working female demographic, feature some male arm candy!

  • Dear Prince of Petworth,

    I am rather flattered. If you look closely this is an image of myself. I am the owner, Cinderella Bermudez, of Maid to Clean and 15 years ago I had an artist recreate this logo with my face. You have not done your homework. After 50 years an image such as the orginal “Rosie the Riveter” became public property. I have legally tradeamarked this image with my face and the name Maid to Clean. I did not hijack this image. I have paid a pretty penny to trademark this image with my face. It is an original. I am happy to have our trademark attorney respond to your blog if that would be of any use to you. This is a marketing tool which has been a successful one. I am an independent residential cleaning company and my gross revenue is top 1% in the entire US! Granted my service area is a big help. We service the DC Metro Area and are the number one cleaning company in our area. Yelp filters all of our positive reviews. We provide over 15,000 cleanings in the DC area per year! We can’t make everybody happy, however, making 99% of our clients happy is q

    • Maid to Clean HQ is near my house in Del Ray, so I’ve known them and their logo forever. Cindy is well known throughout the ‘hood. She is a fierce queen of clean. And I’m surprised nobody has commented on the hysterical fact that her name is Cinderella and she runs a cleaning business.

  • It is a clever logo —this company is top notch and the owner is very invested in all employees. She has had the same staff for years and has slowly and carefully grown her minority woman-owned business so as not to compromise on the quality job they do.

  • Offensive? No.
    I really don’t care if the business is cleaning my house, or washing my car, or making me a sandwich, or serving me a cocktail at a bar… I just want the person to *care* about what they’re doing and the quality of their work. And frankly, their race or gender is irrelevant. People (employees) don’t understand – and don’t care – about customer service anymore.

    What the logo says to me is that they take cleaning seriously, care about their work, and aim to do a great job. I say hire ’em!

  • The logo represents what the company is: a powerful, and obviously successful, female owned and operated company. Bad publicity is good publicity so keep on discussing. You all are doing wonders for their SEO!

    • Offensive, I don’t think so. Empowering? Yes. This is a 100% woman owned company. Delivering a top notch job to its clients and giving jobs to more than 55 plus employees. The logo appropriately represent the company.

  • This is a great logo! Empowering Women everywhere. Given that the cleaning business is hard work, I love the flex of muscles!

  • If the so-called “objectified” groups of the world quit whining about everything and being so sensitive all the time they would get away from these problems in the first place and become truly equal. Stop being a baby, its a picture.

  • It was offensive when Maid to Clean car almost ran me off the road friday night.

Comments are closed.