The Hamilton Spectator

Why experts say TikTok challenge might be a bad idea


The latest TikTok challenge isn’t a death-defying stunt or a new dance trend. This time around, it’s challengin­g male partners on their cleanup skills by using ketchup.

The #ketchupcha­llenge — where women squirt ketchup on the counter and have the men in their lives clean it up — has more than 185 million views. To the surprise of many of the women, cleaning a ketchup spill proved to be tricky for their male counterpar­ts.

In one video, the man smeared it all over the counter in a circular motion, while in others he complained about wasting the condiment.

“He Stresses Me Out, This Is Why I Do The Cleaning,” Katherine Castaneda captioned her viral video, which has more than 33 million views.

While many poked fun at the men’s inability to clean ketchup off of the countertop, there are a few successful videos that contain cleaning supplies and the use of fewer paper towels — minus the smearing.

Even Heinz hopped on the trend. In its video, a man heads to the store, buys a bag of fries and returns home to enjoy the ketchup using his french fries.

Although meant as good fun, experts say it shows a “controllin­g” dynamic in the relationsh­ip.

“I don’t love the power dynamics that are happening. I think it kind of speaks to one person being a little controllin­g of the other that the cleaning has to be done in a certain way,” Rebecca Coopersmit­h, a licensed clinical social worker and certified sexuality educator at the Family Institute at Northweste­rn University, told

“Truthfully, if we want our partners’ help, we need to accept that they might do things differentl­y than we would have and that needs to be OK.”

However, TikTokers said they believe the challenge is helpful and shouldn’t be taken seriously.

For some users, the challenge proved that cleaning is work and should be appreciate­d.

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