Keep Your Acceptance

One of the biggest and last problems that I have with streaming television is seeing the same three commercials over and over again.  It’s not a big deal in the scheme of things, but when the commercials are annoying they’re very annoying.  Lately I’ve seen one particular Similac commercial like a dozen times.  The commercial is called “I Accept You”.  Check it out.

Every time I’m confronted with this commercial it pisses me off more.  The commercial starts with a woman holding a baby who says “I accept that you photographed your baby…inside a tea cup.”  What follows is a string of mothers who accept the things that other mothers such as…

“I accept that you enrolled your daughter in high school before she left the womb.”

“I accept that you no longer notice…that spit up.”

Oh but then “Welcome to a world where moms support moms.”

A formula feeding mother says “I accept that you do things your way.”  This is followed by a woman bathing her baby in a one side of a double sink who says “thank you.”

Finally, “Welcome to the sisterhood of motherhood.”

Here’s my biggest problem not just as a mom but as a person: I don’t give even a single fuck what you accept.  Acceptance is not support.  In fact, as stated in this commercial, the acceptance isn’t even acceptance.  It’s passive aggressive bullshit.  “I accept that you no longer notice…that spit up”?  Bite me.  Sometimes you don’t have a spit up rag on your shoulder.  Sometimes the spit up lands somewhere else.  Maybe spit-up mom has been busy and she just hasn’t gotten around to it.  The point is that you don’t know and she doesn’t need you to accept that she hasn’t cleaned the spit-up off her shirt.

In regards to the formula feeding mom who accepts moms who wash their babies in the sink, I understand that there are many breastfeeding moms who are judgey about women who formula feed.  That sucks.  It does.  There are women out there who legitimately cannot breastfeed or even pump.  Whatever your choices as a parent – assuming those choices aren’t actively harmful to your child, and let’s face it that’s not usually the case – your friends and family members and even other parents you don’t know should deal with the fact that adults make their own choices.  Whatever parenting books you’re reading, if you look around I think you’ll find that there’s a variety of parenting styles that result in reasonably well-adjusted kids.  Similac isn’t building a “sisterhood of motherhood” here, they’re pointing out the division that the formula industry has been complicit in establishing.  You’ll also notice that they didn’t put the formula feeding mother against a breastfeeding mother.  Instead they show a mom who is bathing her baby in a sink next to a sink full of dishes.  Look how disorganized she is!  Oh that hippy-dippy nut mom.

There’s nothing about this commercial that is about creating a “sisterhood of motherhood”.  The faux acceptance pedaled here is about pushing a product.  If you need or simply choose to use formula, that’s your choice.  But please, just please, do not walk around throwing your acceptance at everyone.  Moms with rogue spit-up on their shirts don’t need your acceptance. Moms who like to take pictures of their babies in giant teacups aren’t hurting anyone, they don’t need you to accept their photography choices.  Formula feeding moms, you don’t need anyone’s acceptance.  You’re an independent human being who makes your own choices and it is not my or anyone else’s place to insist upon accepting you.  Likewise, women who wash their babies in the sink (ps. it’s a pretty convenient place to wash a baby since most kitchen sinks are in fact baby-sized) do not need your acceptance.

Similac’s disingenuous attempts to insist on some sort of “sisterhood” among mothers is distasteful.  Its implication that you as a mother are in need of other mothers’ acceptance doesn’t magically enter you into a sisterhood, it wants you to believe that you need the acceptance of strangers.  It puts you on notice that your adorable pictures and your sink-bathing and your spit upon shirt mean that you require acceptance from people.

Acceptance is a pretty tepid form of support.  If that’s the kind of support Similac’s sisterhood was offering they can keep it.

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