Semi Wordless Wednesday

Once Upon A Time....

A bunch of mommies used the Internet to finally take on one of the commercials that labeled them as being silly, ridiculous, bon-bon eaters who needed to buy a lot of things and stuff and general guidance if they wanted to be a Good Mommy, because the mommies - being instructed for so long by the media that they needed this stuff to be Good Mommies and give me your money now - began to believe in the image being sold to them.

But the mommies were sick and tired of being played like adorable fools.

They got loud and big and the commercial was pulled.


Which was ironic because the product in question didn't need to insult anyone to get attention. The mommies were using it already. However, the advertisement for the product was trying to re-create a problem that the mommies didn't want to exist anymore. The mommies didn't want to get distracted once again into quelling the in-fighting and arguments about who was the best kind of mommy - instead, they wanted to like each other and get together and eat bon-bons and plan the overthrow of larger patriarchal constructs.


Then a whole bunch of other people started telling the mommies that they were acting like silly, ridiculous, bon-bon eaters, not only for being silly, ridiculous bon-bon eaters, but because now they were acting like even bigger, silly, ridiculous, bon-bon eaters.


And that whole bunch of people who were mad or embarrassed or afraid of the mommies got together in a big gang - probably a bigger gang than the original group of mommies - and the gang told the mommies that they shouldn't waste their time and energy on something so silly and ridiculous and all those bon-bons made them fat and stupid and they should just go back to breeding and worrying about their next soccer meet.

Then the gang spent a huge amount of time and energy and bandwidth bitching and complaining to the mommies about how they should pick a different, More Important topic to spend their time bitching and complaining about.

And that irony was so thick you could spread it with a plastic Sally Hansen hot wax knife.

The End.

(You can Google the important terms. They're all out there. Trust me.)

"I don't know why these silly idiots are
complaining about a commercial.
I don't let advertising affect the way I think."



Marinka said...

This is why everyone should get Tivo and fast forward through the commercials. The last commercial that I saw was "Where's the beef?"

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I kinda didn't have a dog in that fight. I mean, I did wear my babies, but the last time was like, 12 years ago. However, in the spirit of mommy solidarity I busted out the sling and hauled the 12 yo around all day and now it's gonna take a hell of a lot more than Motrin to fix me. Have the morphine manufacturers said anything offensive about moms, or can I go ahead and install the pump?
Apparently, I cave to peer pressure pretty easily. said...

marinka: Best commercial ever - Santa on a Norelco razor. It's just not Christmas without it. Thank goodness for YouTube.


I actually hated using a sling and didn't do it, bonding be damed. However, what I hate more is the rivalries set up between mothers. This is what I thought the commercial played on. And frankly, I think that we're getting over it for the most part, in some areas. However, we don't need no help in starting any new fires or solidifying a negative stereotype for those moms in those communities where formerly alternative mothering practices are still seen as weird or indicative of some failing or weakness or, worse, itching for a fight.

Not that I've thought about this too long or hard. ;-)

Fairly Odd Mother said...

I never wanted to read one more word about this whole issue, but I'm glad I read this. I'm probably in the gang that thinks there are better things to worry about, but I felt pretty much alone in my thinking. . .

scargosun said...

I don't know why people are complaining about people who have a right to complain. Isn't that wasting time? I mean, the persons have already complained...are they supposed to take back their complaint. Weird. said...

"I mean, the persons have already complained...are they supposed to take back their complaint."

From what I understand, we're supposed to complain about something more worthy of being complained about next time. Well, here it is: right now, somewhere on this planet, there is a child dying of starvation or other effects of war. Dare anyone on the Internet use their individual or collective power to complain about anything else ever.

Life just doesn't work that way. Maybe unfortunately. Or maybe we multitask. You know...wipe butts AND watch soap operas same time? :-)

Amy said...

The Motrin people need a most excellent focus group moderator, like moi, to avoid getting the Bjorn straps tangled around their ankles next time. Cause when that happens, clearly the mommies are all like, "since you've so conveniently bent over all all - take this!"

Variations On A Theme said...

I'm so lost! What in the world are you talking about? I don't know what to google!

Variations On A Theme said...

Okay, forgive my stupidity. I just found it. How insulting is that! Yes, I wore my babies. It was much LESS of a headache, because they were so much more content. And I loved them being so close.

Now for the really funny thing. My 3-year-old was sitting here in the room with me while I watched the video on YouTube. I didn't even know he was listening until he said, "When I feel tired and crazy, I want to go to sleep."

Ha! said...

Variations On A Theme -

lol...I'm sorry. I suppose I'm more hip regarding niche controversies than I give myself credit for.

Google Motrin Mom Ad. Read the articles and the comments. Many of the comments lead me to believe that there are a whole lot of people out there who would still be very happy if powerful women put on higher heels and tighter girdles so they couldn't walk so fast. There's still a lot of a hate on for women, and this controversy spun into another controversy was a good excuse for many people to express it.

When it comes to people trying to tell women where to stand and how much metaphorical coffee to fetch, I got a big old tin foil hat on shaped like a burning bra.

Anonymous said...

I'm currently expecting, and experiencing a bit of a mommy war on the "natural or not" question, and the "are you going to breastfeed" question, and the ... well, you get the point. And since it's my first I have tons of anxiety, and that's what situations like this play on. If I felt comfortable with my own decisions (which I'm starting to) then everyone else's opinion and comments and butting in wouldn't matter as much.

cinnamon gurl said...

Great post. I react strongly when I see motherhood being belittled, whether it's through stupid ads, or stupid people believing that breastfeeding is like masturbating or shitting or plain old nudity and should only be done in private, or whatever. Our culture does not support motherhood in any meaningful way, and this failing shows up again and again. Meaningful support is impossible without a culture that truly sees and believes that motherhood is damn hard. So to me it's not about babywearing at all, it's about how moms are treated and portrayed.

Anonymous said...

I'm not in favor of boycotting those products but I am in favor of this post and your ability to articulate the real issues here so well. Glad you weren't intimidated by the people telling you "not to worry your pretty little head."

Anonymous said...

TiVo saved my life. In other news? It's my 3 Year Blogiversary today!!

Jess Riley said...

Last night I read a thread on a certain message board that asked contributors to replace any word in an advertising slogan with the word "Crap." I laughed so, so hard as I read the suggestions. This type of behavior should be encouraged more often.

MichelleB said...

I think its great that mommieblogs band together. It's inspiring.

As a SAHM who recently got divorced, I've been inspired to blog starting over after selling the diamond engagement ring my ex-husband gave me to and my road to closure.

I'm not a bon bon eating knitter, I'm a single mom looking for love like others!

Avitable said...

My biggest complaint was on places like Facebook, getting invites and requests to join the protest against Motrin for an advertisement that I viewed as innocuous, and then being told that I was insensitive because I didn't see how it was insulting. That's when I decided to protest the protesters.

Didn't see a gang anywhere, though. Just saw an unorganized bunch of people trying to figure out why mommies got their mommy panties into a mommy bunch.

Anonymous said...

You know, the funny thing about the Motrin ad is...I really became hooked on Motrin when I started carrying my first child in a front pack. It does cause muscle strain! Motrin does help! But the bit in the ad about how we wear babies because it "makes us seem like good mommies" infuriated me.

If it had been done differently, I think I would have really identified with the ad.

jess said...

"I got a big old tin foil hat on shaped like a burning bra."

Sounds dangerous, wouldn't you be afraid of your hair catching fire? Although I guess tin foil isn't very flammable. said...

"Didn't see a gang anywhere, though."

Chalk it up to Rashomon.

"Just saw an unorganized bunch of people trying to figure out why mommies got their mommy panties into a mommy bunch."

That's sweet.

Avitable said...

Don't you love how I can passively aggressively turn a phrase?

:) said...

"Don't you love how I can passively aggressively turn a phrase?"

Oh absolutely. The limits of your rhetorical skills never cease to astound.


zipbagofbones said...

This whole debacle was kind of funny to me, but then again I'm no mother, so I had to read to understand why it might have been offensive. Very interesting conversation surrounding this topic. My eyes, they have been opened. (Can I buy eye drops for that?)

Bar-b said...

awesome....great blog find through avitable's page.

plan to stick around. Just wrote something similar in my blog...sort of.

Mr Farty said...

WTF is Motrin?

I ♥ the BBC - no ads!

karengreeners said...

niche controversies - yes, that is the very best way to put it.

my thought on the whole thing was that it was too easy to get caught up in this very insular on-line world - blogs! tweets! facebook status updates! - and that if we stepped away, even for a moment, we might, god forbid, miss something really big happening. imo, that has the power to enslave us way more than a ridiculous ad.

Anissa Mayhew said...

Jozet, you have a fabulous way of putting it all in the simplest bite sized perspective. I was a babywearer and I was offended by the way Motrin handled their ad. I was amazed, again, to see how the mommies banded together and got some response. When the VP of Motrin's marketing calls you to see how they can fix it...not ME...that shows that we're pretty empowered to make things happen. On any scale, ya know?

love love love! said...

kgirl -

I do think that the niche controversies are important in the way that any grassroots issues are important. They are always connected to bigger things.

I think this controversy didn't go far enough in that it didn't - as is the case with most single issues whether they be gay rights or pro-choice issues or any minority issues - connect the single cause to wider humanity. Even one circle out would do us good. Cynically speaking, I think that a lot of people think "What's in it for me and why should I expend my time and energy caring?" even with the most worthy of causes. With any cause we need to do that better. Right now, the Internet is giving voice to all the niche causes - which is good - but, yes, I think, also just dig further into our own bellybuttons. We need to move on out and beyond into the Interwebs and link these causes together. The synchronicities are easy to see. said...

If I say "cause" one more time, please to slap me.

Variations On A Theme said...

Looks like we could have our own forum here!

To Anonymous: Yes, I did the natural labor, breastfeeding, carrying thing, because it is what "I" wanted, and I got criticim passed MY way for going natural. And for breastfeeding. AND for slinging around.

BUT I didn't think anything negative for a minute if someone didn't WANT to do those things.

A friend of mine didn't want to breastfeed (and was having an incredibly difficult time with it), but was feeling pressured to do so. Her oh-so-wise nurse said: "It's more important for your baby to have a sane mother than to be breastfed." Ahhhh.... I second that. said...


As with many things, when someone does something different, there is - I think - a perceived threat of sorts. Not overt or direct, but more of a threat to our own identity or esteem or even confidence in our ability to parent, i.e. get our genes on the ground and keep them there. A very survival issue.

If that parent is doing it this way, and I'm doing it that way, we can't both be right, can we? I honestly think that - along with cultural and societal messages for "how to raise a child" - there are also those sort-of hard-wired messages of "what isn't like me could be a threat to me". This works wonders when you're living in survival mode and steering clear of bears, but not so much when you're at playgroup. As new parents, we're constantly looking for information, clues, hints - even in just watching other parents with their kids - as for how to keep our kids, basically, alive, and then emotionally, psychologically, societally "healthy". Of course, these definitions are all different and valid based upon your sort of micro-culture/society.

However, as a new parent - or young parent - with messages coming from all corners and decisions needing to be made immediately and continually and at such a high stakes (survival and health of my kiddo), I think that some people need to push back or down or away all the choices they didn't make so that they can feel more confident that the choices they did make aren't putting their children in jeopardy somehow. Who wants that guilt? Some people just push away those choices and the other values, ideals, way too hard to the point of saying "wrong" and "right".

And then people push back.

Humans and situations being as complex as they are, there's no cookie-cutter for best raising any one child, even within the same family, even with all the research in hand.

"Breast is best". Research says yes. However, research isn't in the room with a mom with ongoing mastitis and four other children and a sick father and a boss who won't allow her to pump at work.

At the same time, when a breastfeeding mom is attacked for her choice - even if that attack is because another parent feels threatened or insecure in their own choice - the BFmom might counter with all the "breast is best" statistics to justify or assert her choice, which is fair, but at the same time, continues the circle or "right/wrong" parenting debates. IOW, the heat of a moment maybe isn't the best time to hit another parent with all the reasons you think you're right when it's at the same time confirming some guilt or playing on some insecurity which got us here in the first place.

In my best world, another parent saying to me, "your choice sucks/is wrong/is bad" would be met by my first trying to understand the place of insecurity or hurt that the comment is coming from. In my best world, when I am attacked for a choice, my response would be, "I'm not going to engage in 'right or wrong' debate about our choices, because it's not that simple for either of us. If you want more information on my choice, I can direct you to my sources and tell you about the variable in my life that I considered at the time of the choice." In the real world, I'm not always that big a person.

I don't know...there are clear cases of neglect and abuse that demand real furor, but I'm not sure that many of the ongoing parenting choice debates need so much furor as they just need actively getting the information out there in the least judgmental way possible - which can be a trick, to be sure - and then trusting moms to do what is best taking into account all their different variables. Also, the variable that kids are pretty resilient.

Variations On A Theme said...

Well said (written) Halushki.

I just re-read my post and I hope it didn't sound like an attack on Anonymous. I was trying to support. To say that no matter WHAT you do, people are going to criticize.

With my second kid, criticism wasn't so influential, but when my 81-year-old neighbor who raised three healthy children told me to "Put that baby down!" I got insecure. I was also told it was "gross" to breastfeed past one year. And about going natural, "What were you trying to prove?"

I finally decided that I could only do what my intuition told me to it wrong or right.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I think I might be glad I was too busy living life to get sucked into any of this.

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