Have the media caught up with modern parenting?
Monday, 17 June 2019 | Mummy and Little Me
The Honest Confessions of a Heart Mum.
Let’s talk about Philadelphia Cheese and it’s Dad bashing AD campaign! With it being Father's Day on the 16th June it seems very apt that I watched something on TV that really got my back up regarding how the media portray the parenting ability of fathers. (Cue virtual soapbox coming out).
We are all feeling the Father's Day love this week with the shops full of those gifts all father's really want like... Teddy bears that will be forgotten about after Sunday. Sweets, the kids end up eating. A plastic trophy which will no doubt get broken and chucked in bin by Monday and don't forget the obligatory novelty old git socks. Although if you are my son he likes to show his appreciation and love for his Dad by buying him a orange plastic cone to put in the toilet to give warning once he has been for a poo!
I was watching TV recently and happened to watch the new Philadelphia Cream Cheese advert. It did leave me with a lot of questions and really did annoy me with how they have added to the portrayal that the media likes to present that all dad's are glorified baby sitters who haven't got a clue what they are doing The advert sees two "new dads" looking lost and left holding there new babies in the middle of a restaurant. One dad is of course in a business suit obviously just coming from the office and left holding the baby. The shock! The men connect as they are both "new dad's" (despite the babies looking about 6 months old!) and of course they don't know what they are doing being as they are just 'Dads' and of course a conveyor belt of Philadelphia on toast distracts them from looking after there children which end up going around on the conveyor belt. I mean we've all been there haven't we?
Delirious with sleep deprivation (they both looked very well rested to me which does against the whole new dad scenario once again) that we've forgotten to look after our baby because we were distracted by some spreadable cheese. Yep very real there. Then it ends with them both realizing where there offspring actually are with chuckles off; "Let's not tell Mummy about this" end the ad. It's not the first, it won't be the last but why is it the media has to portray dad's in this way? As bumbling idiots who cannot possible look after their own child? As just babysitting there children rather than being an actual parent who raises there children equally. Is it that are too busy working to possibly know what they are doing when it comes to raising a child? I mean they couldn't possibly show the reality of parenting could they? A mum feeding her baby just as her lunch gets served up and trying to eat one handed. A dad grabbing anything for tea whilst trying to stop his children destroying the house. A late night snack for those many, many nightly wake ups. A stay at home dad juggling society's judgement of him staying at home with the children and being left out of the "Mum club" at the park. Being so hungry and tired you will eat the cream cheese with a spoon worried that the baby will wake up again soon, knowing you've not eaten all day. Of friends making loved ones meals for the freezer after they've just had a baby. Or the parent with post natal depressing not eating for days on end? How about the realities of your tea going stone cold and being heated up again later. Parents eating on their own because they work opposite shifts and can't afford the childcare so pass like ships in the night. Those are the real realities of being a new parent. Perhaps companies such as Philadelphia need to actually talk to the parents in their company to remember this!
These adverts can be damaging, and they are enforcing the idea that the father is the secondary parent. Generations ago this was likely the case with women being solely responsible for raising children but now a days things are very different, but I think the media may not have quite got the memo about this. Now a days both parents are working, both parents are getting up in the night and doing their share of the child rearing and indeed the house work. Despite the fact I work less hours than my children's father does, I consider him an equal parent. He cooks, he cleans, he gets up in the night, he attends nursery activities just like me. I can safely say though that he has never left one or both of our children on a conveyor belt in the middle of a restaurant after he was distracted by Philadelphia on toast. I guess it’s a bit like the unreal portrayals of giving birth that are shown on TV or in films.
I can whole heartedly say my two labour experiences were not anything like what I saw in the movies. Perhaps the realities of birth and parenting are just not glamorous enough to be shown in a Philadelphia advert but it’s damaging never the less. Just a heads up Philadelphia… us parents are clearly your target market and you are going to what to keep us on side for when our child finally realizes there is more to life than milk and will only eat cheese spread for breakfast but why not help us out? Create a marketing campaign with quick, easy and healthy meals new parents can make quickly and eat one handed. Recipes that aid milk production or give energy? Why not suggest some weaning recipes? But don’t portray father’s as a imbecile who wouldn’t know how to look after this own child if his life depended on it. You might want to step into this century and look around to see what Dad’s are really doing for there children, as I don’t think it is neglecting them whilst they eat toast in a restaurant. On another note what kind of establishment is serving up rotating plates of Philadelphia on Sushi style conveyors anyway?! It may be a joke or a light heartened AD but for all the hardworking dad’s pulling in every hour they can at work, coming home and then bathing the kids, getting up in the night and doing the school run its kind of a kick in the pants don’t you think? We have to stop these outdated and harmful portrayals of parenting that the media love to show. P.s Philadelphia if you want to employ me as your marketing consultant for the next AD campaign call me.
Vicki Cockerill is a NICU/ CHD Mum of two boys, working mum and freelance blogger.