I’ve been seeing this sponsored video over and over on Instagram — it’s for some sort of meal-planning service, let’s call it sheMeals. In the clip, a stay-at-home-mom-type is texting with her husband. He writes, “What’s for dinner tonight?” And she starts writing back, “I have no idea.” That right there seems like a perfectly normal response to me, perhaps slightly more pleasant than other variations that also seem fully appropriate (“WHAT AM I, A TAKEOUT MENU? PS: YOUR SON TOOK A DUMP BEHIND THE SOFA AGAIN”), but she pauses, then deletes her message. She then types, “Something delicious that you and the kids will love.”

Mom-Lady then goes through the process of showing how the app works, which I guess involves picking a recipe and then getting a customized shopping list, then we cut to her writing him another message: “All taken care of!” At which point he responds, “My hero!”

How many barfs do I have for this ad? All the barfs. The entire depiction of this woman’s lot in life, down to the condescending head-pat at the end.

I finally decided to click through to the comments, in order to complain mightily into the void, and that’s where I saw person after person writing things like “Hey, this looks really cool!” Or “I need this!” A bunch of people who weren’t, like me, getting butthurt over whether or not their (admittedly inconsistent) views on sexism were being represented by a marketing team, but instead were responding to the features and benefits the app purported to offer.

This is when I probably should have quietly exited, chose the “stop showing me this ad” option, and moved on to other important topics, like perhaps delving into why it is the “My hero!” line specifically made me want to put that fictional guy into a Ronda-Rousey armbar submission, but I did leave a message, something along the lines of “Maybe I’ll evaluate your app when your ad isn’t so demeaning to women, GOSH,” and then my kids were like “What’s for dinner?” and I was like goddammit.

Comments

22 Responses to “Maybe just keep scrolling next time, self”

  1. Kelly on January 16th, 2017 10:32 am

    Totally worth leaving the comment. It’s possible that next time they put an ad together, they might consider how they portray gender roles.

  2. Tara on January 16th, 2017 10:48 am

    Love your post…haven’t seen that ad on IG, but I to feel the pressure of being the “little woman” who because I’m at home all day (I’m not really at home all freaking day, but apparently that’s what the rest of the 5 people living in my house think…. I’m a 1/2 work at work and 1/2 work at home mom with four kids in school all day, barely have free time to take a shower) I should have my shit together, every day, every week, and we should never have a shortage of food for every meal and those in between, plus by 3:45 my kids are asking me that dreaded questions…”what are we having for dinner mom!” while their Dad is no where in site, hasn’t answered my texts, hasn’t set anything out for dinner in weeks/months, and walks through the door to see me cooking dinner (and breathes a visible sigh of relief that he doesn’t have to do anything quite yet), sets his lunch box and water bottle down and goes to find some corner of the house where he can be on his fucking phone for what feels like an hour, and once he re-surfaces finds me deep in dinner prep with kids all around fighting, not doing homework, and begging for scraps of anything…and is so thankful….BUT the every once in a awhile when I hit bitch mode because I feel like a fucking waitress and maid, suddenly its my fault because this is what Mom’s do, this is what I should have expected and what I should WANT to do, and more blah blah blah’s! WTF! It’s an underappreciated, under-understood world we Mom’s/Wives live in on a daily basis that only gets better when I read posts like yours! I say bring on the app, we live in the stereo-type as it is, might as well ease our burdens a bit so we can sit back and enjoy our dinner time prep a little more and keep our sanity! Thanks for some perspective today!

  3. Erin on January 16th, 2017 10:54 am

    Some family’s are happy to work like a team though and work well with roles. Nothing wrong with that. But we’re all different, right? I think one could spend an awful lot of time looking for things to be offended by and certainly find it. Or, you know, just live your life the way YOU want to and allow others to do the same. That’s my take on it anyway! Triggers are merely points that we need to heal about ourselves. It’s good to have perspective that helps rather than harms. Until you heal your triggers, you’re going to be upset everywhere you go. Do you want to live life that way?

  4. lisak on January 16th, 2017 12:52 pm

    Um. No. That’s a sexist, stereotypical ad. It’s not about healing triggers. Give me a fucking break.

  5. Sara on January 16th, 2017 1:13 pm

    Barf indeed. Sexist to the max. Ughhhhhh.

  6. Grace on January 16th, 2017 1:37 pm

    HAAAAAA!

  7. sooboo on January 16th, 2017 2:23 pm

    Yeah, not cool. Advertising often reinforces the idea that it’s the woman’s job whether she wants it or not. Good for you for calling it out. One that bugs me is how hard it is to find a gender neutral shopping list pad that sticks to the fridge.

  8. Julie on January 16th, 2017 3:55 pm

    LOVE. Goddammit indeed. I hate cooking, especially after working all day, picking up my one child, and then home to start all over again. There is no husband (my choice; precious child is adopted) but goddammit. Tonight we stopped and got take-out b/c she was with me all day b/c it’s a school holiday. Can we afford it? No, but my sanity needed it. Where is the app for I can’t afford this shit but please send it anyway?

  9. Talora on January 16th, 2017 5:07 pm

    “No idea. You better pick something up on your way home. We’re starving”. Sorted.

    Glad you’re writing. Always a pleasure even when it hits close to home and hurts.

  10. anne nahm on January 16th, 2017 6:11 pm

    <3

  11. Celeste on January 16th, 2017 10:14 pm

    Yeah, eff the condescending triggers bs…the add is condecending and dumb and sexist. Thanks for saying something, though. It’s so easy to just roll your eyes and close the add. And thanks for writing! I’m so glad you are back and we get to see more of your journey.

  12. Michelle on January 17th, 2017 8:01 am

    Indeed barf! Having worked in marketing, it’s crap content like that ad giving the field a bad reputation. Also, I don’t know wtf is for dinner tonight. My mom’s long-time standby? “Fend for yourself”

  13. Jennifer on January 17th, 2017 8:27 am

    This horrid, sexist, 1950s-era gender stuff is nauseating. My triggers on this are only just below the surface, these days, given our current cultural and political climate. It’s one thing to not be there yet [i.e. there = equality, freedom from gender roles]–the practical work of cooking dinner must fall to someone–but the ad suggests that we [women, men, families] are not even able to imagine ourselves doing anything other than the 1950s Cleaver family. URGH.

  14. Tessie on January 17th, 2017 10:00 am

    I can pretty much guarantee that a MAN wrote that ad because that sounds like something out of HIS fantasy (“You’re my hero”???? COME ON. What woman is the swashbuckling hero in her fantasy??).

    It’s like a bad episode of Mad Men where Peggy needs to step in with the goddamned white out.

  15. Mary on January 17th, 2017 1:55 pm

    Seriously written by a man. One that doesn’t understand Concept #1 in Marketing: Know your persona. Are you selling to the man or the woman? Because real moms aren’t going to relate to that shit no matter how many people you pay for fake reviews.

    Speaking of women/work/kids/families/domestic life, have any of you read the Ambition Interviews at the Atlantic? Tara, you might be especially interested in the stuff about fellow mamas who works at home part time and are also responsible for much of the domestic stuff.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/12/the-ambition-interviews-a-table-of-contents/510848/

  16. TinaNZ on January 17th, 2017 8:49 pm

    If nobody gets upset then nothing changes.

    “What’s for dinner tonight?”
    “I don’t know, is it my turn to cook or yours?”

  17. April on January 18th, 2017 6:47 am

    In our house, I am the cook because my husband can’t cook worth a darn and no one is happy when he tries. However, we work a meal plan together and if I don’t feel like cooking there is no drama about it. That is a terrible ad. I think there’s another one where the husband is sitting on the sofa asking what’s for dinner while the wife has been cleaning. I can’t remember what that was for but those things drive me crazy. While it works in my family, it shouldn’t be the expected. It being the expected is what makes it sexist.

  18. Shawna on January 18th, 2017 8:16 am

    “Something delicious that you and the kids will love!”

    *picks up a pizza delivery menu and eyes it speculatively*

  19. Luxie on January 20th, 2017 7:59 am

    Then she comes home with the groceries in a bag with the name of the company on it. So did they send her the groceries? Did she go buy theming put them in the bag? Now she has to still cook dinner right? So pretty much she found a recipe online and is going to cook it. Allrecipes.com works too. That add is bull.

  20. Hanna Nelson on January 23rd, 2017 4:55 pm

    In situations like this, I (like to) think the comments are fake… Glad you spoke your mind!

  21. Danell on January 31st, 2017 4:46 pm

    Personally, I reserve being offended for bad intentions. If someone or something’s intent is not to deliberately be hurtful, then I am not offended. (I am, however, annoyed at everything under the sun. But I don’t feel that being annoyed warrants anything more than walking away, ignoring, disengaging, etc.)

  22. Sara on February 9th, 2017 7:55 am

    I just wanted to comment to say that I can’t wait to use “all the barfs” at some point during my day today. Thank you.

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