Just a Commercial? Or Mommy Wars?

So I have to admit, I totally teared up at the Similac commercial everyone has been talking about.  Haven’t seen it yet?  Check it out:

So is this just a commercial? In under 3 minutes, not only does this ad make us feel more connected as parents, it also brings to light some of the divisions as well, making important discussions we ought to be having instead look like Mommy Wars.  I was interested to see how the rest of the web reacted and I think most people seemed to feel it was simply a great reminder that we’re all in this together.

Michelle Hottya, Birth Doula had a different take(from her Facebook Page): “Similac wants you to see the video and think, “Am I like that? Oh, I don’t want to be like that. I’ll keep my mouth shut about breastfeeding (etc.) from now on.” So the message is that we are all to accept everything and not say anything about parenting to anyone, just smile and glow.”

I also appreciated Tracey, from Evolutionary Parenting, who said on her Facebook page:  “Why did I hate it? Because at its core, it’s a very slick way to advertise for formula. Go back and watch this ad and see which one group doesn’t actually insult anyone else. Which group is simply the brunt of attacks? Whereas which groups are the meanest?”  She concludes “And for anyone that tries to claim that people are smarter than the ads and won’t fall prey to that type of built-in message, I ask you to think about why advertising is a multi-billion dollar industry. It’s not because we see through it. It’s because we don’t.”

I have to say it was interesting how the breastfeeding ladies were more negative and judgmental. There is something to be said for the fact that a formula company isn’t out for feel good about moms – it is out for profit. They don’t do things from the kindness of their hearts. So not only did it get everyone to talk Similac, it got shared all over the place, and the commercial itself is subtly saying it is breastfeeding mamas who judge and breastfeeding mamas who are creating the Mommy Wars. Now whether that is true or not, it still is touched on.  In fact, while ending well, I felt it promoted the differences between mamas (and dads) instead of bringing us together, as so many kept saying.

All parents love their children – and in fact, most parents want all children to live happy, healthy lives.  So I think we need to stop with these portrayals of “mommy wars.”  I agree with Tracey when she says in her article on EvolutionaryParenting.com,  “So where is all this judgment and shaming coming from?  It would seem the answer is: The media.”  These “wars” didn’t start with us, and they won’t end with us either.

Does that mean you shouldn’t watch the commercial?  I finally broke down and watched it, just to see what all the hoopla was about.  Yep, it got to me too.  However, instead of watching Similac ads and promoting the discourse around breastfeeding, baby wearing, and even alternative lifestyle choices as an “us vs them” (thanks Tracey!), let’s talk about how we can help women who want to breastfeed do so, and meet their goals.  Let’s talk about the benefits of wearing your baby.  Let’s talk about alternatives to formula if you have to supplement but don’t want to go that route. We’ve only got one world, and our children are going to live in it one way or the other.  We’re in this together – let’s keep skip the formula ads and talk to one another.

So what about you?  What’s your take on the whole thing?  Did I read too much into it?  Too little?  I’d love to hear from you!

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