Now, before you rail against me for being anti-mom, let me be clear: my issue is not with moms, but how non-moms are marginalized and pretty much ignored. I’m not a mom, and have no plans to become one anytime soon. But after reading MediaPost’s Engage:Moms newsletter earlier this week, I got a little hot under the collar.
I understand the power of the mom blogger and moms in general. I’m a marketer, and work very closely with a number of bloggers that are moms, some of whom are self-categorized as ‘mommy bloggers,’ some who aren’t. My company depends on moms, among many other consumers, to continue to buy our products. What gets me is how many companies and individuals ignore or marginalize me simply because I don’t fit into one of their neat little categories of ‘mom’ or ‘young adult’ or ‘tween’ or whatever. I’m a woman, plain and simple.
I see it in the way companies market to non-moms: I’m not a teenage girl who needs to have a happy period*, nor am I am a woman who has had a few kids and is looking for ‘a birth control option without a daily routine.’ I need good, dependable products that do what they say they’re going to do. And as I’m not supporting a family, I have the disposable income to pay extra for quality products that talk to me like I’m a woman and that’s it.
I see it in the way employers deal with women who aren’t moms: Just because I haven’t had a child doesn’t make me any less responsible or less dependable than a woman who has. In fact, it probably makes me a slightly more engaged employee, since I’m not racing off to deal with a child’s illness or teacher’s meetings or whatever. Promoting married and women with children because they’re perceived as more responsible is discrimination, as far as I’m concerned.
I see it in the way coworkers discuss their children and other parenting issues: I understand you find your children and their every little utterance darling and the colors of the fluids they produce riveting, and while I expect I’ll be a mom one day (God willing), today, at this point, I don’t need to be sitting in a business meeting listening to these things. No matter if you’re among the cool coworkers, some things just aren’t that interesting. Unless I’ve specifically asked, breastfeeding or sick kid stories do not need to be part of our small talk.
I see it in the way the social media community almost exclusively consists of moms and the way the conferences and events always seem to evolve around moms. One of the biggest storylines to come out of last year’s BlogHer was (sorry Nikon) Nikon Hates Babies, which started a conversation about how some mothers simply assume their children are welcome everywhere. And some of the feedback I’ve heard surrouding this year’s BlogHer suggests even that community is erring a little too far to the mommy side.
Perhaps it’s time women consider ourselves less a set of individual parts and look toward our commonalities. Instead of trying to mobilize moms to do something, what about women? I have free time to devote to a cause (well, kinda…grad school takes up most of my free time, but you get the point). I have disposable income to spend on well made, well marketed products. And I have extra time to spend on that really important project you don’t think I’m responsible enough for.
So ignore me, and the other childless women in your world, at your own peril.
*Sidebar – who ever came up with that campaign needs to hang out with me for a few hours during THAT time of the month…happy is not a word in my vocabulary at that point and it might make them reconsider their marketing insights.