Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Mum's the word

I've taken my first ever guest post.

What wonderment was on offer to make you take the guest posting plunge I don't hear you ask.  

Well, it wasn't what was on offer, it was more the threats I was under if I didn't agree to hit publish.

No, not from a corporate or media goliath, much worse in fact.  They were from my sister, who has a bee in her ever so lovely bonnet about something or other (which is a joke that will probably work better, or not, if you read on).

I'll let Emma explain what has got on her nerves:

Having turned largely to TV for entertainment during the winter months (don’t judge me, it’s cold, dark and chunky knits can easily shroud missing gym sessions) I have been subjected to the flurry of Christmas advertising campaigns, of which there are many.

There are a number that piss me off stand out to me, those being ones from the major supermarket brands.

Arguably any reaction to advertising can be viewed as a success, but I’m sure my reaction isn’t the one they were aiming for.

But, I ask:

  • Why are the supermarket giants using the basis that only a woman makes food whilst men make fire in their campaigns? 

All lovely times being had whilst the ‘little lady’ wrestles with a big bird in the kitchen.  Is this not a little dated, archaic and dare I say narrow minded and sexist?

  • Why is one particular brand depicting that behind every Christmas there is a Mum?

No, no there isn’t. Not in all cases.

My annoyance with these campaigns causes me both personal, and more general, offence.

My Christmas and in particular the provisions and beverages of Christmas Day are dependant, readily prepared, provided and served by a man who is not my mom.


For the last 4 or maybe 5-6 years my Christmas has revolved around the family unit that is my brother and his boy.

I - a female - have been known to pride myself as being a total dependant during Christmas time with the simple proviso that I am toilet trained but beyond that I expect to be doing little more than eat and nap on the 25th of December each year.

(It’s true, Emma’s normal Christmas Day position)

My brother - a man - 'does' Christmas Day.

He shops, prepares, cooks, decorates and cleans and he does this simply because he wants to spend they day at home with his child.

As it happens he has the biggest house for entertaining and the best kitchen, so it suits us all too, et voila, he’s in charge.

This way is our normal and my nephew’s normal.

Max’s mum will unfortunately never be behind his Christmas Day, and I’m not sure how great it is for Max to see mums used in advertising as a ‘given’ for being behind everything.

Hopefully Max knows that his ‘normal’ is totally fine as is anyone else’s whatever their normal may be.
My brother, Max’s all cooking, all cleaning dad, has always reinforced to Max that it’s ok to be different and that people take on roles and have preferences as people, not as males or females.

This message has been delivered to Max in many ways be it the simple thing of Ian and Max both choosing to have long hair, going to ‘Mother & Toddler’ together or the more involved conversation with Auntie Al explaining that girls can be Doctors and boys can be Nurses (which is a whole other blog and issue).

I’m sure that with or without Max’s mum being around this message would have been delivered to him.  It perhaps has an extra importance now because of his circumstances, but it remains an important message, just as is it for other parents I know.

I’m confident that Max knows his Mum will always be behind everything he does in some shape or form and I’m confident that he gets the right messages about stereotypes, sexism and differences.

It’s just such a shame those messages have to be hammered home by his dad and are not supported by advertising executives flooding our screens with nonsense whilst trying to sell frozen peas.

So what do you think?  And it may be worth watching the public information broadcast below before you do.