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Dove wants us to "Meet #RealMoms whose diverse parenting styles shatter stereotypes about motherhood." So here we have Cassidy, who is raising her son on a cattle ranch. Then there's Elise, who brings her daughter to breakdance battles. There's a single mother raising a son on her own, and a young mother and, hold on a second here, a biological father claiming to be a mother.
*record scratch music stops* Wait, what? "We're both going to be moms, *giggle*"
The idea is, of course, to promote that there's no right way to be a mother, motherhood is as individual as the women who birthed the babies. Women who are mountain climbers, horse ranchers, break dancers, teenagers, single, married etcetera and so on. This is in line with Dove's previous campaigns which have taught people to love their curves, curls, and themselves by showing us diverse images of beauty in all ages, and all races. So here they want us to see motherhood the same way. But in a world where the British Medical Association says mothers-to-be should be referred to as 'pregnant people' in their official guidelines, the word "mother" is a lightning rod for controversy. By applying it to a person who is the biological father of the child, Dove is not introducing us to #Realmothers, or broadening the word to include more people, Dove is helping to nullify what the word "mother" actually means. A mother is by definition a woman in relation to her children, and women are adult human females. Dove has stuck their neck out for women for over a decade now, changing how beauty products are advertised. Encouraging parents to talk to their daughters, instilling self-confidence in women who are too hard on themselves. Some of the campaign ideas have had better success than others, but they were all very interesting. With this, Dove is aligning themselves with this kind of Orweillian activism, which focuses on arguing against biological reality, that men and women are different. By allowing anyone to use the term that was once reserved for women, we erase women because the term now means nothing. These language games have far-reaching consequences, and I believe Dove will soon notice that their target market - mothers - are not willing to share that title with people who are fathers.
Why can't we have men who wear heels, lipstick and dresses? Why can't a father love pink and frilly? You can not show women who are breaking free from gender roles - being tough ranchers and mountain climbers - and then say that the man who is breaking free from his gender role is magically a woman. That's a contradiction. By including the transgender grad student, Dove shot down their own point.
Ad agency: Ogilvy Group