It’s a mom’s world. . . and the rest are useless

by Michelle Curtis on 03/07/2011 · 8 comments

in Feminism, Motherhood, Work

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Mothers keep the world turning, whereas those other women who have yet to fill their destiny are just wasting life. The idea seems old-school and ridiculous, but according to Raley’s BelAir and Nob Hill, a local Northern California grocery chain, “it’s a mom’s world and were just living in it.” This campaign has been airing for the past six months and as it continues to display on my family’s grocery bags each week, the campaign continues to irk me.

On the store’s website they even have the Mom’s World Panel, where moms can register and voice their opinions, feedback, and thoughts on products and how to “make shopping more mom-friendly.” (Yes, that is an actual quote from the website). Now, what if I am a single-woman/man or a married woman/man without kids, where can I voice my opinion regarding the produce you sale? Somehow, I think the CEO (Michael Teel), forgot that mothers are not the only ones who know how to pick out a good piece of meat or the ice-cream for the week. Perhaps they need some feminists higher up in their company.

While the campaign shows the difficult job of motherhood, it is these messages of gender roles attached to the campaign that are too obvious to ignore.

The first is that women bear and rear children. While there is no question that it has to be women who carry babies and are needed to give birth, there is a false notion that women are the only ones with the capabilities, the mother instinct, to take care of children. I fail to recall one man in the campaign. This is problematic because the parenthood responsibility is put completely on the woman, thus making for a longer double-day and goals such as a career or education even more unattainable.

The second issue with the campaign is the message that being a woman means being a mom. When the idea of womanhood is connected to only motherhood then women lose the choice to be who they want to be. If motherhood is seen as the ultimate achievement then living a life without children is seen as selfish, uncaring, and unfullfilling. If women are unable to choose whether they want children then do they have any freedoms at all?  When women are seen as incomplete until they start raising children then other achievements with education or in a career will gain little appraisal. This lack of support to venture to other arenas can lower a woman’s identity as a woman, making it less likely that she will move to influential because she is filled with the idea of motherhood as the only achievement.

This campaign further shows how advertising reproduces gender norms. Through advertisements on television, radios, and even grocery shopping bags, advertisements are carefully construed to keep women and men in place.

About the Author: Michelle Curtis is a 22 year old from California who is currently working on her B.A. in Women’s Studies. Michelle enjoys scrutinizing media for it’s portrayal of women.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Chantilly Patiño March 7, 2011 at 6:28 pm

We all have different purposes in life. For some of us parenting becomes the center and for others – that might not be their calling. If there wasn’t diversity in what we choose to pursue or feel driven to achieve, then we would truly be at a loss. It sounds like this company was jumping at the chance to “please” a popular market without considering that they might alienate everyone else by only acknowledging that population. Shame on them. Great post BTW. =)

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feministified March 7, 2011 at 7:40 pm

I think it is also significant to mention that once women become mothers, our society tends to forget they were ever anyone else. Mothers, obviously have no interest in anything else now, but being able to maintain a good home.

Brilliant piece, Michelle!

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Ann Tindall March 7, 2011 at 7:53 pm

This has been pissing me off too! Very narrow minded of Raley’s, and annoying on the many fronts which you have so eloquently identified. Thanks for this, following your blog now!

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Latina Fatale March 8, 2011 at 6:19 am

@Ann Glad to see someone else noticed! Thanks for stopping by!

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Casey March 7, 2011 at 10:07 pm

As a feminist mother, I hate this campaign. It’s insulting to imply that my life revolves around trips to the grocery store. That is not at all what this mom’s world looks like.
I would love to know what a stereotypical “Man’s World” looks like to Raley’s.

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Latina Fatale March 8, 2011 at 6:21 am

@Casey Glad to hear that it’s not only bothersome to women who don’t have children. Yay! We love feminist moms!!

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SacTom June 15, 2013 at 2:15 am

Apparently I’m a few years late to the party on a post. What compelled me to begin looking at this was the recent billboards I’ve been seeing around town sponsored by SaveMart that simply say “We (heart) Love Dads, Too!”
As a single father, I’m the cook, cleaner, bottle washer and shopper in my household. I vividly remember the Raley’s billboards when they were around and my son turning to me in the car and saying to me “it’s a dad’s world too…do they think women are the only people who shop for food?” I explained to him the ignorance of the company behind it and the societal perceptions that did not include our family. Michelle, your insight is very perceptive and eloquent. My son and I both appreciate your insight and the deserved shame that it brings to those companies who would like to saddle and portray women in this way along with portraying most men as oafs by implication.

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