So there’s this gender-coded internet ad meme-thing that I’m seeing everywhere, and I just don’t get it.
The ads, which I find in Gmail, in Facebook, and in just about every other ad-bar that pops up on the right side of my screen, run something like this:
Don’t get Botox! A Mom of Three Discovered How To Fight Wrinkles Naturally!
Thinking about Expensive Teeth Whitening? A Stay-at-Home Mom Learned that These Two Household Products Work Just As Well!
I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s been flooded with these lately. And I don’t click on ads anyway, so I can’t report what sort of snake-oil is being sold here. But I’m interested in why this “mom” thing is the hook.
Is this about the current vogue for “natural” or “folk” remedies, as opposed to “scientific” ones? That means that folk is gendered female, and science is male. (Nothing new there.) Is it that women, and specifically mothers, have secret medicinal knowledge, because they are caregivers? That goes along with the folk aspect, I guess. “Wise women” or something… Or is it that I’m a woman of child-bearing age, and so I’ll want to give my teeth-whitening business (puh. leeze.) to a woman who has children? Some sort of you-go-girl-ism?
Of course, the claim that SAHMs are coming up with these “revolutionary” beauty treatments–and of course, they’re beauty treatments, not software apps or cures for cancer–is just weird to me. It’s not that women who stay home to raise their young children couldn’t possibly invent something*, of course, but stay-at-home-motherhood is being used as a kind of code here, and I’m not exactly sure how to read it. I’m pretty certain, though, that whatever it is, it really isn’t about valuing women or mothers.
Have any of you seen these ads? Have you clicked through? What do you make of them?
*See Anne L. Macdonald’s book Feminine Ingenuity: Women and Invention in America, for a really good read on this subject.