Breaking Out Of The Momeotypes
Modern moms are different than the ones you’ve seen on TV. 40% of moms are raising kids alone. 69.9% of moms work. And, for the first time, moms in their 30s are having more kids than those in their 20s.
So why do TV moms in 2017 look exactly the same as they always have? A lot has to do with longstanding stereotypes by both agencies and clients — the momeotypes.
As an advertising creative and mom, the momeotype hits me hard. How do we, as marketers, help to change society’s stereotypes of motherhood, families and women? How do we, as creatives, break out of our own preconceived notions?
Here are a few ideas.
RECOGNIZE ALL KINDS OF FAMILIES
It’s easy to write a traditional nuclear family into scripts. But why? Today, the family dynamic is changing. Only 19% of homes were made up of nuclear families in 2013, compared to 40% of homes in 1970. A script with a single parent, a divorced couple or LGBTQ+ parents isn’t a political stance — it’s a true reflection of the diversity of real American families.
SWAP GENDER ROLES
Whenever you can, swap gender roles. 80% of moms say they like ads that show dads who are involved with parenting. It’s time to feature more dads preparing dinner, girls playing with trucks, or even Mom coming home from work to relieve Dad. How many ads show a dopey dad doing something idiotic while the mom rolls her eyes? Swapping gender roles in the media empowers dads too.
CAST DIVERSELY AND HONESTLY
Let’s throw the casting net further than the size 2, 25-year-old white lady. That means looking past cyborg-perfect models to someone who actually resembles the mom across the street. It means making sure to cast without ageism and with ethnic diversity in mind.
Let’s create and champion content that celebrates real life. Real moms aren’t perfect, they don’t cook Instagram-ready dinners on a weeknight or dress business-casual at home. Sometimes the aspirational gets in the way of the relatable. Instead of giving moms an unrealistically idealized version of motherhood, let’s draw from human truths. Let’s talk to moms honestly. Let’s get real.
Let’s all open up a little.
Let’s take responsibility and make what we put out there count. It’s time to look at our own work as a way to change the media landscape and to shake the stereotypes we use as crutches.
Let’s fight for work that connects with moms by drawing from human truths, not just traditional aspirations.
Let’s hire and promote more moms to diversify creative voices and industry thought leaders. That also means creating flexible environments so that all parents and caregivers can thrive in their roles at work and at home.
When you only have 30 seconds to tell a story, stereotypes become an easy sell. As marketers, let’s challenge ourselves to create advertising that reflects diverse family lives and nonconforming gender roles. Let’s challenge more clients to buck the momeotypes and reflect the world as it actually exists.