There is a new commercial floating around the internet that you may have seen. It is an ad for Similac, and it features various cliche “Mommy Groups” facing off to do battle. The Working Moms, the Stay-at-Home Moms, the Breastfeeding Moms, the Formula Moms, the Lesbian Moms, the Yoga Moms, all in the park to judge each other. And the best part about this commercial (besides being hilarious and spot-on)? They included a group of stay-at-home dads! They get it! Awesome! They recognize that formula feeding a baby, for whatever reason, is often one of the first and closest experiences a dad can have with a baby. This is progress!
As the commercial progresses, the dividing lines fall away and the groups come together as the words “No matter what our beliefs, we are parents first,” come across the screen. Yes! Exactly! We are parents! The stigma of being a caretaking dad is finally, slowly, painstakingly being eradicated! This is the best commercial of all time! It is funny, it is touching, it makes a bold statement, and I love it! Until the last five seconds.
Do you have any movies that you love except for the ending? I do. One that comes to mind is “Pay it Forward.” Great movie, great story, lessons learned, and satisfying conclusion. Until the last five minutes. THERE WAS NO REASON FOR THAT TO HAPPEN! It did not serve the story in any way! It did not drive the point home further than it had already been driven! It was manipulative and unnecessary! I have never watched that movie a second time. If I could go in and re-edit it, and fix the ending, I would. But I do not have access to those actors and actresses, and Haley Joel Osment is too old now anyway. There’s nothing I can do to fix “Pay it Forward.” But I can fix this Similac ad.
At the end of the spot, as the camera is pulling back on all those people who are “parents first,” moms, dads, possible robots/aliens in disguise, we suddenly get a graphic across the screen that says “Welcome to the Sisterhood of Motherhood.” Wait, what? “Similac” it says. “#Sisterhood Unite” it says. Excuse me? Are you krunking kidding me?
Better bloggers than I have written many a post about this surprise ending, with some dads in the “eh, it’s fine, at least there were dads in it. Progress!” camp, and others in the “this is not okay and it needs to change” camp. And I have to say, it made me a little upset to watch it myself. I think only because the dang thing was so awesome, I had very high hopes by the end of it. And then to see myself invited to join the sisterhood of motherhood, well, it felt like the rug had been pulled out from under me. In the same way that we need to work to change our sexist language to make sure we are not inviting women to join our brotherhoods, we need also to speak out and ensure that dads are not expected to be mothers.
So I fixed it. You can watch my even better edit of the commercial right here. It’s a good commercial. And the ending is even better. We are all parents first. #ParenthoodUnite
Update: Since I wrote this (you know, like a few hours ago), Similac has responded to concerns and will also be promoting the hashtag #ParentsUnite, and will still be using #SisterhoodUnite as well. We’re getting closer. Baby steps. Special thanks go to Aaron Gouveia of The Daddy Files for being a supportive and rational voice for change.