Support for Parenting


WBW 2008: Circles of Support

I haven’t blogged in A LONG TIME, but there is a marketing campaign that is going viral on the Internet this week, which is bringing me back to the keyboard.  I am not going to link to it here, as that will bring hits to their page, but I do have to comment.

“Oooh”, “ahh”, “how sweet”, “yes!”, “it’s making me cry!” are some of the posts I have seen under the said campaign.  But the campaign makes my blood boil (and in these instances, I am not very eloquent in my writing) so I want to get these thoughts out there, especially to the expatriate parenting community where parent-to-parent support is ever so important:

    1. Media Mommy Wars:  Mommy wars, themselves, were created by the media.  So “Mommy Wars” alone really should never be said. It’s only been the last 25-50 years or so, when the media has created an “us vs. them” dialogue that it is now seen, once again IN THE MEDIA, as something that not only exists, but is inevitable.
      This is demeaning and degrading TO WOMEN!
      It’s not inevitable and doesn’t really exist outside the media.  Sure we as parents and individuals gravitate towards others who do things in a similar fashion, but that doesn’t mean we judge or hate people who are doing things differently.  Our best friends may even go about things in their own way.  And that’s GREAT.  Diversity is what makes the world such a great place.
    2. Formula vs. Breastfeeding, stroller vs. babycarrier, etc:  This is that “us vs. them” thing that I referenced above.  In this advertisement they are pitting one against the other.  Yet they aren’t really, if you look closely it is one-sided: the “mean” and “antagonistic” ones in the advertisement are the mothers who are breastfeeding (and who are doing so with shame: i.e. with a cover because OH MY GOD you cannot show a nipple or use your breasts in a non-erotic way) or babywearing (yoga and baby-wearing mothers).   Their facial expressions show hatred and the negative comments, the belittling, the name calling that is “thrown around” come from these “attachment parenting” mothers, they are not launched in the other direction (except one veiled comment about “being lazy” which implies the non-lazy mothers are “better” as they “do more work” and another about the “breastfeeding police”).
    3. Everyone should just ignore each other and let them make their own choices:  I call bullshit.  The reason the video has gone viral is because of the opposite: mothers are online, in greater numbers every year, because they are tired of being ignored, they are online looking for SUPPORT from others, for help in making their choices.  As parents we need the support from all of society (hence my chosen image above we need circles of support).  The video has gone viral because we know the “media mommy wars” and “antagonism” do not exist and we think the video shows this message.But we’ve been duped.  The subtle messages we have not seen: after less than 24 hours many of those who have watched it are feeling judged for their choices and feel that the “media mommy wars” exist.  Just look at the comments under the thread :  “I’m tired of ‘breast is best’ we all do what is best for our babies” (not knowing that the “breast vs. best” line was coined by the very same industry that put out this latest video), “I had no choice but to use formula!”, etc. etc.  In less than 24 hours, those who do not believe in the mommy wars sorta do…. they are feeling judged for their choices. The “media mommy wars” are omnipresent and clever marketing has worked.
    4. Men are better than women:  did you notice that the men didn’t throw negative comments around?  That they were just jokey and fun.  And did you notice at the end when EVERYONE WAS FIGHTING to do the right thing (and save the baby) that it was actually a man that got to that baby first?


With the four above points, as a woman, as a parent, as a member of society, think about this: in one week, one month, one year, what will you remember about the advertisement?   Will you remember how it made you feel “in the moment” (the awww we should all work together — which is what we all believe) or the “media mommy wars” that have been battling under the thread ever since?   Will you remember which formula you “should use” when things get rough?  Or will you remember that you can call on other women who have been there before for support?