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“One card is celebrating moms for all they do during the holidays.”

“One card is celebrating moms for all they do during the holidays.” published on 2 Comments on “One card is celebrating moms for all they do during the holidays.”

I just came across an outrageous online ad for Mastercard. It said that, if you sign up for this special, you can spend $200.00 online and get a $20.00 gift card. I have no objection to the particular promotion itself, but it's the framing of the promotion that enrages me. It's targeted explicitly toward moms, including the text in the subject line of my entry.

This ad assumes that…

1) Everyone viewing it does holiday [i.e., Xmas] shopping.

2) Those who do shop are mothers. Other people don't shop.

3) The best way to reward people for undergoing the aggravating, time-consuming, frequently stressful, often anxiety-producing business of shopping is to give them more money so they can do more shopping. That doesn't sound like a reward to me.

This ad just recapitulates the tired sexist trope that mothers are responsible not for a family's support or earning, but for a family's consumption and happiness [in the form of gifts]. The gift card that urges its recipients to spend $20.00 more than the $200.00 they already have, to mother more, to consume more, to do more for the holidays, to somehow be better mothers.

The kyriarchy is never satisfied. It denigrates women, but then expects them to achieve impossibly high standards of feminine "perfection." One can't win!


…and it makes me feel almost subversive in that I’m more likely to sit down at my sewing machines (and most likely the second hand machine these days) and make things to give as gifts. Or maybe go into the kitchen and bake things as gifts. Yes, these are old stereotypes of What Women Do, but, first, I do them by choice (in an age when so many people don’t know how to do them at all), and, second, they don’t involve spending money I don’t really have to get a paltry bit of it back.

Also, the things we have bought for gifts were purchased over the last year (last few years, actually), so there’s no last-minute rush of gift consumerism. “Planning ahead” also seems to be a lost art.

Doncha luv being outside so many target markets? It certainly amuses me to be out here…

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