October 28th, 2015
The 'mommy wars' are the patriarchy's latest attempt to control women
By Kim Lock
The ‘end mommy wars’ advertisement shames mothers by insisting their beliefs are ‘judgments’ of other women.
The seven-minute video advertisement that Similac calls “the Mommy Wars documentary” features a group of new mothers making some heart-rending disclosures, with a particular focus on “judgment”: either judgments these women report receiving, or judgments they admit making of other mothers. Hats off to Similac, the ad certainly is effective. It is moving and tender. And with almost 2m views at the time of writing, it is clearly grabbing attention.
But in a world that criticises, analyses and judges every aspect of a woman’s body and life, isn’t it more than a little hypocritical for multinationals who’ve profited from mistrust of women’s bodies for decades to suddenly wax altruism?
Patriarchal culture has maintained women’s uncertainty about their bodies (and lives) for a long time. Advertisers exploit this uncertainty, fuelling women’s fear of their body shape, size, colour, smell, its hair and its functions. This relentless power of suggestion not only sustains a lucrative market for almost every consumer product under the sun, but more insidiously, it keeps women compliant. By disparaging peer-to-peer discourse as “judgment”, by implying that a truly supportive woman reacts only with serene smiles, advertisers can undermine any information shared among women and parents. Because who wants to be that parent? The parent who is seen to be judging when they say, “Hey, did you know that formula top-ups can affect your milk supply?”