Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Just like Real Life

Proctor & Gamble - the maker of brands like Crest, Head & Shoulders, Olay, Oral-B, Pantene, Bounty, Charmin, Dawn, Downy, Gain, Pampers, and Tide - knows who butters their bread - moms. So they put together a little commercial to butter up their bread butterers with the message to remind moms that theirs is the best job in the world.


The video shows the sacrifice involved in being a mom - the cooking and cleaning, the caretaking and cheuffering, exhaustion, early mornings and self-sacrifice. There's lots of standing on the sidelines too - conveying how mom gives up her own life so that her child can have a great life and become successful. (Of course, from the viewpoint of a childfree blogger, this reinforces the contention that for many people parenthood is nothing more than a cop-out and a way to relegate true effort and achievement in life to someone else). We see the moms cheering on their Olympic athlete kids as if they themselves are the medal winners.

And then of course, at the end of the commercial we get the big tear-jerking bingo that being a mom is tough work, but it's SO WORTH IT. Sure, you cook and clean and slave your ass off and give up your entire life and identity - but in the end, look what you get - AN OLYMPIC MEDALIST!

Yeah, just like real life.

28 comments:

Temujin said...

Interesting job description for being a mom -- waking kids up, cooking, cleaning, spending all day working on their lives. Just trying to follow the argument to its logical conclusion:

If being a mom means doing all those things, like cooking, cleaning, waking kids up, etc., and this the BEST job in the world, then by extension the the following jobs must be the next best jobs in the entire world:

#2. Housekeeper
#3. Nanny
#4. Driver
#5. Children's coach

So, how does that sound to you 21st century women? If you can't be a mother, you can shoot for the next best thing at least -- a live-in nanny and housekeeper. Don't you feel silly now choosing to be a doctor instead of a nanny?

Temujin said...

If you want your kid to be an Olympic athlete, the single most important thing you can do has nothing to do with your quality as a homemaker. The kid has to win the genetic lottery and be a genetic freak. No amount of Tide used on his underwear is going to make a difference if he's not incredibly genetically gifted. Nice try, P and G, but moms using your products don't really make Olympic-calibre bodies.

CFVixen said...

UGH!! I've always felt that parenthood was a cop-out. People don't know how to create their own lives, success and happiness...they push it off to the next generation. Looks like hell on earth to me.

Karyn said...

I'd rather have peace, quiet, disposable income and eyes that don't have bags under them than an Olympic athlete as a child. Kind of makes me wonder how many of these parents were those horrible overbearing sports parents, if their kids ended up in the Olympics...

Harvey Requiem said...

Anyone read "The Feminine Mystique" by Betty Friedan? They did this same thing post WWII, to convince women that being a mommy was the BEST THING EVER, the ONLY THING WORTH DOING, and the ONLY way a woman could be happy because anything else was trying to be a man. Same old song, but they doctored it up with a lot of pseudo-science and pseudo-psychology and multiple studies that were either outright misrepresented or deliberately fixed to create pro-patriarchy results.

They've tailored the rhetoric and the BS a bit for the times--an outright "women's place is in the home, anything else is for men, stop trying to be a man and just accept your baby-making, chore-doing, husband-obeying fate, woman!" would not go far right away, but every time they do this they find some way to convince women that this is the sole source of happiness. It always backfires because none of it is true and women who embrace it find themselves feeling more stifled the further they sink into the mystique and obliterate their own identities into this ideal. It's always been women who have other interests and identities than "Mommy" who have healthier psyches--and I'm not just talking about childfree people but women with kids who manage to maintain a career or have some outside non-child-related interests that don't involve bringing the brood along.

cdhozac said...

I don't know about most people, but how is Motherhood even compared to the hard work it takes to become an Olympic Athlete? Or other professions, like Trauma Surgeons? Or high powered CEO? A lot of jobs require insane hours and supreme dedication. Motherhood basically entails keeping a human being alive.

Arik said...

I would only want astronaut children, wheres the commercial for that?!

alifewithoutkids said...

Just like real life indeed. Because everybody knows that most kids grow up to be olympic medalists. lol

Artemis said...

It does not even cross their minds that THEY themselves could be Olympic athletes if they had the same commitment to any sport as they have with their kids...

Dave said...

Typically skewed outlook on things we see often. How about a video about all the moms who got up early and toiled all the time but their kid(s) NEVER ended up making the Olympic team and are instead flipping burgers or in jail or doing drugs or ended up bulimic (hardly uncommon for those gotta-stay-thin, wannabe athletes)?

To me, this video is really no different than the skewed publicity from the gotta-be-in-it-to-win-it lottery winners. We don't see videos of all the millions of poor saps and suckers who spend lots of money each week and NEVER WIN anything significant in the lottery, money totally wasted which could have been spent more wisely or actually invested in something meaningful. (And many lottery winners end up broke soon thereafter or have their lives ruined by mooching relatives so they end up wishing they had NOT won!)

Childfreeeee said...

Exactly, Dave.

Let's face it. Most people are average at best. And many people are DETRIMENTS to society. All of them had moms, many of whom toiled just as hard and gave up just as much of their lives as the Olympic medalist's moms. But what did they get? A loser who not only amounts to nothing, but worse - is a burden to society and a strain on the earth's resources.

The unrelenting messages about motherhood always convey that motherhood is hard work, but it's the best job in the world, the most rewarding and the payoffs make it all worthwhile. This may be true for some moms, but for many moms it is not. Problem is, very few are telling THEIR story and making commercials about them.

Temujin said...

One of the biggest myths in the ad was at the end: the myth of the child who's grateful for all that you've done as a mother. Lord knows my mom would disagree....

J said...

These types of commercials always give me a laugh for the same reasons already mentioned. To be fair to P&G, if I was in the business of marketing things to parents I'd do the exact same thing. Pat them on the back, tell them they're doing the most important thing in the history of the world and their child can grow up to be an olympic athlete MD who also finds a way to cure cancer on the side and then thanks his parents during his Nobel price acceptance speech.

TLewis said...

This seems to re-enforce the self-esteem movement and cupcake war competitive parenting mode as well as the consumerism mentality of our society. I.E. your investment is your child and you sacrifice so much, but don't worry because your dream of your child to be an Olympic athlete (or insert successful career here) will pay off. Furthermore, merely because your child is special and as long as they just be themselves they will go far.

Believe said...

Honestly, while some parents go above and beyond, cleaning dishes and washing clothes are not heroic acts. These women who believe this need to get the hell over themselves.

Also, does anyone else get annoyed that these women take pride in being the servant in the house? There is nothing honorable about that and it just reinforces the idea that women belong in the home.

JBradshaw said...

It's perfectly fine to take personal pride in doing what you're supposed to do, and respecting those who have the integrity to do that.

But the instant you make a big deal out of it, either as the person doing what is, quite simply, exactly what is expected of you, or as someone observing another person doing that, you completely destroy the very thing you're praising.

Being a "good parent" is something every parent should do as a matter of course. Glorifying it moves the bar, it makes being a good parent some significant goal to look up to. It's not. It's the minimum requirement. You're glorifying a C student for a passing grade.

And the difference between a good parent and a great parent is something that's so incredibly subjective that trying to measure it is a complete waste of time.

The idea that you can - in any meaningful way - measure the success of a parent in gold medals is ludicrous. What about all the Olympic hopefuls that spent virtually their entire childhood to become ALMOST good enough to appear on television in an activity that, apart from the Olympics, has virtually zero chance of allowing them to contribute in a meaningful way to society?

Oh, your son can throw a shotput almost as far as an Olympian? That sounds like a good use of his childhood. Good thing he didn't spend that time learning a marketable skill...

Spectra said...

These kinds of commercials always make me gag. Sure, Michael Phelps' mom got an Olympic Medalist, but there must be at least 1,000,000 other moms out there that raised mooches that smoked pot in the garage and wrecked the family car. I went to high school with several of them, so my statistics probably aren't far off from the truth. Even if you do a great job as a mom, you can still raise a messed-up kid.

Rhona said...

omg, that was funny. i love how they make the moms all look homely also like it is such a hardship to put on some makeup or dress nice you know, bc you are a mom. you cant have time for me. its all about the children (rolling eyes). hilarious.

Temujin said...

If raising children really is the hardest job in the world, mothers sure don't act like it's very hard.

If they really thought it was all that hard, then mothers wouldn’t complain so much about the cost of daycare. I mean, if childcare is so darn difficult, then you’d expect to pay a lot of money for daycare, especially since the daycare worker is taking care of even more kids than you do at home.

If mothers really thought it was all that hard, they would be paying babysitters a whole lot more. As voters, mothers would never act like teachers are overpaid and never balk at teacher unions going on strike. I mean, childcare is the toughest job in the world, right?

To Spectra:

Hey now, it’s not either/or. You can smoke pot in the garage and wreck the car and STILL make something of yourself. At least, that's what I keep telling myself.... :-) (Michael Phelps may be a bad example. He has admitted to being a pot smoker.)

mzwunderkind said...

I just realized I got bored and started to text lol

mzwunderkind said...

@Temjuin Thank you ! I feel the same way about gas lol. Many people complain about the high prices but if it bothered you so much you wouldnt continue to drive

Serious about smoothies said...

I love this blog, and I am committed to defending my choice to be child free. I expected to vomit in my mouth after watching the ad. But I did not. It was moving, and beautiful --- minus the p&g unnecessary statement about the hardest job ever..... I don't think the mothers in other nations (or ethnicities) were stay-at home, soccer moms. Just the suburbs,SUV driving mom of the gymnast. There was a universality of sacrifice & pain that I associated more w/ the spirit of the Olympic Games, and that reminded me of my own mother's sacrifices. I get more offended with a regular Tide, cereal or air freshener, suburb and motherhood glorifying ads. This one seemed to be the exception. My 2 cents. Love this blog!!!!

bonclyde149150 said...

This ad is funny because the kids being trained for the Olympics could have been replaced with colts and fillies being trained for someday running in the Kentucky Derby. Isn't raising a future Kentucky Derby winner also one of the hardest bestest jobs in the world? XD

Jen said...

I have tremendous respect for all women but I'm confused by the statement that motherhood is the "most important job in the world". It is? Really? Why is it so special to raise your own offspring? Not all kids follow the straight and narrow. I'm actually quite concerned about how screwed up kid are becoming in this generation. Why is it so important to raise a potentially unproductive child? Some kids grow up to be amazing adults but not always. Why is motherhood such a respected path in life... befoer we even see how these kids turn out? Wait until these kids hit 18. Then judge how great their mothers are. Seriously.

Jen said...

We should celebrate GOOD moms. Not all Moms. I respect the choice to have children but many women stink at it. Seriously.

DowagerLadyUrsula said...

This further reinforces that woman=mother. It is the default in our minds.

The ad doesn't celebrate women for making a life for themselves, or accomplisments themselves, it celebrates women who devote their lives buoying up someone else. This scares me in so many ways.

Childfree Travel said...

Somebody please tell me why American the Black family was in a dingy apartment taking the bus while the American White family lived in a house with a new upscale minivan? That stereotype annoyed me the most.

Tessa said...

"There's lots of standing on the sidelines too - conveying how mom gives up her own life so that her child can have a great life and become successful."

What bugs me most about this outlook is that women are always the ones that are slighted here. So a mother gives up her own life to raise her children: but then, her daughters grow up and do the same. And then their daughters grow up and do the same. Basically, this outlook is almost entirely in favor of men, since they are the only children who actually get to go on and be successful in this scenario. Sure maybe the daughter can be temporarily successful, but THEN she has to go home and be a mom and think it's the greatest thing ever.