Like with most things that take place in the blogosphere, I came late to the Motringate scandal. I’m always late (if I manage to get there at all). After reading several not so nice blog posts (and Twitters) about it, I expected to see something horribly offensive. Instead? I wasn’t offended at all by this ad, not even the slightest bit offended. I actually asked someone if I had seen the wrong ad. Surely, I had missed something.
It appears that some folks were upset because they felt that Motrin was belittling the act of wearing a baby. The whole fiasco was like something Dr. Suess would write about, only without all the rhyming and butter.
I think I was more offended that Motrin took the ad down in response to the backlash. It’s my opinion (and it won’t be a popular one) that what they said about wraps and baby-wearing has truth to it. Sure, they made some generalizations, but every advertiser does that. It’s their job to annoy us that way. I guess the difference this time is that they stepped on the toes of mommybloggers. (Do not mess with mommybloggers. Sometimes they lash out at you and bring their friends along. They have been known to kick below the belt and under the bra. I actually fear some mommybloggers, to be perfectly honest.)
To further alienate myself, I think that many mothers do buy wraps to look like a certain type of mother. I honestly believe that many mothers (especially women who research the hell out of their pregnancy and their baby-rearing days) treat buying a wrap like any other adornment. I’m not suggesting that means wearing your baby is something people do without any benefits. I don’t think Motrin was suggesting that either. But I think it is trendy right now. Buying a wrap is like purchasing a car; moms want the one that most represents their personality and lifestyle, without losing the security, safety and functionality. And if you don’t think people think this way, you’re being naive. Furthermore, if what I’ve written offends you, ask yourself why. (And then count to ten before sending me any hate mail. Also read this.)
I’m sick of this apparent readiness to lash out at other mothers who don’t function under the same belief system as a majority. I grew tired of this crowd mentality back when I was still pregnant and it just keeps getting worse and worse. If it’s not about breast feeding, it’s about vaccines. If it’s not about organic vs. not organic, it’s about whether or not you turned your car seat around too early. If it’s not about soy vs. whole milk, it’s about feeding babies meat or raising them vegetarian. If it’s not about that, it’s about whether or not some advertiser was “belittling mothers” by suggesting babywearing is trendy. I don’t know what’s going to be next, but I do know with this group there’s always going to be a next.
I was given three wraps and bought two of my own more before realizing that the utilitarian Bjorn was more my style (and my baby’s as well. He was always a face-out baby, no way he would have liked the wrap). That doesn’t mean I didn’t secretly wish that I could use one of those kangaroo type slings. Wrap-wearing mothers always make me think yoga instructor, hippie, or crunchy mom and I love a little crunch to my ladies. Plus, a wrap would have done a much better job at keeping Emory warm, but he just wasn’t having it.
I think that many mothers really do think a lot about the type of wrap they’re going to wear and what it says about them. The function of it is obvious—it’s meant to carry your baby. But that doesn’t mean its form and design needs to be an afterthought. Even the companies who make (and sell) these wraps are well aware of our thought process that goes into purchasing one and our desire to look and feel a certain way.
One woman donated a wrap to me and said, “This is what all the celebrities are seen wearing in all the magazines, but I couldn’t ever figure it out.” (I never did either.)
Is wearing your baby trendy? You betcha. Is wearing your baby in something trendy a bad thing? I personally don’t think so. Is stating as much? Apparently so.