I was going through my usual midweek, midday routine. Driving back home from the gym, while listening to talk radio, debating on whether or not I should stop for a protein drink or actually make something healthy when I got home. I drove past the gas station, not because I kind of knew that I had already left some fish to thaw since morning and instead of a buying a protein shake from a gas station I could spend the change on a coffee the next day, but rather because the conversation over the radio was talking about equity, or more appropriately put, equitable relations in advertising. With the H&M travesty recent in my mind, I was naturally curious about what it was that happened now. It was a uniquely Canadian advertisement from a local drugstore that was shopping a new promotion. Something about free prescriptions for kids and targeting mothers with this advertisement. Per usual, Twitter took to action and called out the “Hey, Mom!” ad for being sexist and neglectful of the gender stereotype they were casting. Social media (can we use that as a universal term that everyone is in a consensus of understanding now?) was upset; they aired their charges against this chain store, pressing them to think with a more critical and inclusive eye. It was dads who chimed in, saying that they weren’t inclusive of their part in caring for children.
Everyone’s intentions, I think, were in the right place. I think and not know because, I mean, who the hell can call it these days? It’s 2018 and Donald Trump actually became president. He did so by, ironically, telling his truth about his thoughts. Again, his truths. When was the last time a politician didn’t actually switch up from the campaign trail to the political office? Nevertheless, in part due to the backlash regarding Trump, in part due to corporates, and by extension, society’s blightful insistence on constantly putting out ignorant shit, we have become an eggshell society. Everyone has an issue with everything.
Before you stop there and take to Twitter, let me finish my thought.
I am not a parent. So admittedly, I am not privy to how a single father, or a happily married father, feels about this ad. I can only speak in hypotheticals. And my hypothetical is this: as a man, we have bigger fish to fry. And as a black man, we got damn near Loch Ness monsters out there we trying to catch and kill. As a man, with all our privilege in society, you upset over this?
I can already foreshadow how this trend will trickle into education. Especially, education equity. Similar to the way the Black Lives Matter theme fostered the short existence of the all lives matter thing, the platform of equity in education must not be diluted to the point that every word or phrase becomes so extended that it means nothing. I am not saying that this “Hey, Mom!” advertisement isn’t sexist. Because it clearly is. What I am saying is that it is mainly “dads” who have taken issue with this. Men, have taken issue with this. Now, I understand we all need to be critical of our intersectionality when it comes to oppression and by extension equity, and I also understand that there are some men that will be explicitly offended by an advertisement like this. But we have to ask ourselves before we move forward, where do we draw the line? Where do we draw the line between the propaganda, persuasion, hyperbole, rhetoric, and discourse that intends and actually does attack, belittle, and psychologically oppress people and where are we just grasping at straws for the sake of some watery form of political correctness? If we cannot find that distinction, “they” win. It’s basic divide and conquer warfare. Every issue is an issue. And many issues warrant equal time and critical interrogation. But beyond that, Meek Mill was right – “there is levels to this shit”. Die on one or two big hills, not on a thousand ant piles.
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