Fighting with the Sky

Get Mommed

Posted on: December 7, 2009

I can’t quite place it, but I have hated the Kleenex “Get Mommed” commercials ever since they started.  They bother me.  And then I went to the “Get Mommed” website just to see what it was all about.  It’s kind of worse.

But let’s start with the commercials.  There’s obviously a lot of emphasis placed on motherhood.  The voice-overs and slogans play off of the attention that a lot of mothers give to their children when they are sick.  I mean, when I’m sick –really sick, not just the sniffles — I want my mom there to take care of me.  When I’m not at home when that happens, I usually call home multiple times a day.  But not all mother-child relationships are like that.  And it plays off the idea that only women can be nurturing.  Why can’t dads take care of their kids when they are sick?

But the commercials themselves show mothers cooking, playing with, and taking care of random people who “choose” them to be their mother.  That’s not really taking care of them when they are sick.  That’s just choosing random women to be their mothers.  For some reason, I’m offended by this.  I can’t quite place my finger on it directly, but I know that it bothers me.

And then there’s the website.  The website relies heavily on racial stereotypes.  There’s the large black woman with a big personality, the latina with a big family, the rich white woman who wants everything perfect.  The website not only has all of the things that are wrong with the commercials, but also adds in racial stereotypes to make it “funny.”

Just in case you haven’t seen the commercials, I have added one of them here:

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3 Responses to "Get Mommed"

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Amanda ReCupido and Laura, Mommy Economics. Mommy Economics said: RT @TheUndomestic: Feminism w/yr pop culture: @yfemadventures on "getting mommed" http://bit.ly/4HIvdG […]

I’ve never seen any of the other “Get Mommed” Kleenex commercials.
There’s the obvious problems of not all mother-child relationships being anything like that, and the fact that you have to be female to look after someone, but that’s not what “bothers” us- we’re used to seeing that in commercials every day.
One of the things that makes the commercial so jarring and offensive to me is the way in which the man just uses these women. It mirrors the tradition of men using women for sex, and then once they’ve put out, or when some kind of commitment is asked of them, they leave and find someone else (I am aware that this does not reflect the way in which the majority of men’s relationships work. I am merely alluding to a cultural meme which I’m having trouble putting into words).
Although in this commercial the women are not offering sex, they are nonetheless supplying the man with something he wants (nurturing), and as soon as the women do something that he does not like, they are abandoned.
I suppose that the problem is the way in which the women are treated as a commodity, rather than as people.
And people will probably say “lighten up, it’s only a commercial”, but when it (deliberately, in my opinion) mirrors traditions of women being used for sex, and reiterates that women are sub-human, I find it hard to lighten up.
I guess whether my reading is completely off the mark or not will depend on if the other commercials have women as the main character or not 🙂

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