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Croatia iconic biscuit name change leaves bitter taste

ZAGREB (AFP) – Household chores should be divided equally: that’s what a Croatian company said it was promoting by adding job titles to the name of a popular biscuit. Instead, it sparked outrage among women.

Zagreb-based Kras has produced the biscuit with a chocolate topping since 1957. Popular in the Balkans, its name never upset anyone – until now.

Last week, shoppers discovered the cookie, known as “Domacica” (housewife in Croatian), on supermarket shelves with a longer name that included job titles such as “Housewife and programmer”.

Others were “Housewife and manager” or “Housewife and lawyer”.

The company said on Thursday it wanted to highlight that “women in addition to their work… are most often also the ones who take care of the household on a daily basis”.

A customer holds a pack of ‘Domacica’ (housewife in Croatian) brand biscuits at a supermarket aisle in Zagreb. PHOTO: AFP

It was a campaign, the company argued, designed to encourage all “to take over their share of obligations and responsibilities in the home to ensure an equal distribution of household chores”, it said in a statement to AFP.

But women’s rights activists said the change suggested a woman’s place is in the home, and that women can only be whatever they want as long as they are also housewives.

“Reinforcement of stereotypes and sexism is the worst thing that can happen in advertising,” prominent Croatian women’s rights activist Sanja Sarnavka said, calling for a boycott of the biscuit.

The campaign did nothing but spark a “new wave of misogyny”, wrote actress and columnist Jelena Veljaca.

Many on social media criticised what they called “New Age Feminism”.

“What nonsense! Not every woman is a housewife alongside her job, nor is it shameful to only be a housewife,” one user commented. Others pointed out that they believed the biscuit’s name was a reference only to a “homemade cookie” rather than a “housewife”.

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