Tuesday, 22 November 2011

I'll get my cape

I’m considering a crusade.

Giving that it is only under consideration, and that the scope and aims of my attitude changing endeavours are not clearly defined, it may turn into more of a mire gripe and a single whimpering blog post.

Which you are reading.

Anyway, I can recall way back when I was busy looking after my pre-schooler, going to play groups, swimming sessions, health visits, zoos, cafes, getting new shoes and clothes and all the other jobs and activities active parents get embroiled in.

During such times I would occasionally meet resistance or problems. Not everywhere would cater for men providing primary child care, and some people clearly struggled with the actual reality of that happening.

Folks would sometimes make comments, probably intended as compliments, but would come across as condescending. You understand that, right?

I would get to hear such delights as:

‘You could teach some mums a thing or two’


‘It’s good to give mums a rest’

These things would most often make me smile, my amusement at people’s small-mindedness and thus inability to extend their own enjoyment of life would quell my irritation from their unintentionally barbed words.

And in their defence I’ve made the lazy assumption myself, and felt terrible for it.

However, over recent times comments like this, and generalisations we see – particularly in marketing – are getting increasingly on my nerves. I guess I can blame my mounting years to a certain extent, but do I have a right to be offended and is it something that needs changing?

The ASDA uniform advert is one that gets on my nerves.

It completely ignores anyone other than mums that get involved with purchasing school uniforms. No consideration for dads or grandparents. None for children whose mothers aren't buying their clothes basically.

Way to go against my crusade ambitions by spreading it further, but hopeful its inclusion helps make my point.

Not sure I even have one, as we accept that in the majority of cases it is mothers making the uniform choices for children, but still I was vexed the very first time I watched it.

However I am glad – as I am sure my son is - that it’s only mums that go to Iceland, as their food looks like varying forms of frozen cardboard.

They’ve dropped that line recently, but it was a well renowned tagline playing to the perception that only mothers go food shopping, or are capable of doing it in a savvy way, that’s if you consider buying inexpensive frozen sawdust as frugal grocery shopping.

Or am I being too politically correct?

Is it just marketing that is appealing to the vast majority of its intended audience?

Or should – in a country with an estimated 200,000+ single dads – we be using the terms such as ‘parent’ as the default?

What do you think ladies?*

(*Did you see what I did there? And with the PC thing?)