Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Mommy Trick

It was a simple text ad at the bottom of a Slate article: "Read the trick, discovered by a mom, to turn yellow teeth white." It was tucked in with other teeth whitening ads and yet another transparent scam touting "a easy way to make $7k a month online..."

If a woman created whatever product that's being sold through these ads, it's pretty much a given that she is a mother. Most adult women are. A friend of mine is a cancer researcher. If she creates a breakthrough therapy, it too will have been "discovered by a mom." So what, I wonder, is playing on the stereotype of a "mom" supposed to do here? I can't get any farther than generic ideas of "wholesomeness." Not being a parent myself, I'm not tuned into the whole raft of motherhood stereotypes that might be out there. But I get the idea that we're intended to envision some youngish (mid-thirties, tops), pretty, white, stay at home mom somewhere inventing this in her free time, between changing diapers, separating squabbling siblings and cooking dinner. Someone with no greater ambitions than being a good mother, being attractive to her go-getter husband, sharing beauty secrets with her mommy-set girlfriends - and, of course making just a little money on the side with her ever-so-wholesome home based business.

Of course, this is all just speculation on my part, brought about by seeing a slew of ads for various products that all seem to center around that fact that "a mom" created them. But it seems to be conjuring up what always struck me as a somewhat retrograde impression of "momminess" for lack of a better term. I wonder what about it sells.

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