In the 1990’s, when I began my teenage years, there was a huge advertising campaign run by a leading detergent company which involved well known celebrities calling at the front doors of ‘random’ and ‘unsuspecting’ house wives.

Every time they knock on a door, the celebrity holds this well known detergent in their hands and ask if they have just done any washing. Incredibly, every time the person has just finished a huge load of washing and magically has it hanging in their back yard. And, even more unrealistically, all the clothes seem to be white!!

And there the clothes hang gleaming brightly as the user proclaims the virtues of this fantastic product. Better than any other apparently.

And then it comes…

The famous slogan crashes across the screen declaring that this product cleans clothes making them ‘whiter the white’

Whiter than white.


For me this perfectly demonstrates our society’s obsession with cleanliness.

Well, at least cleanliness on the outside. Being spotless so other people can see it. Making sure the image we portray to those around us is unblemished.

And in our obsession, dirt becomes something that we shun.

I mean, that’s not to say it isn’t there. It’s just we are scared to admit it’s there or acknowledge its existence. And we choose instead to cover it up. Hide it away. And perhaps even believe that we are the only one struggling with these issues.

Time to drop the masks and embrace the messes of each others lives more and more.