This Sunday, May 11, we will celebrate the mothers in our lives, those women who, with the help of our fathers and other mentors, taught us how to be good people, whose shoulders we cried on and whose laughter brightened our days. In celebration of the holiday, international clothing brand Desigual released a mystifying commercial, one which many have found sexist and insulting. The ad presents a young woman trying on a slinky, colorful dress; catching her reflection in a mirror, she stuffs the abdomen of her garment with a cushion. Later, she pokes holes in a pack of condoms and sneaks them back into her bag.
For Yahoo Shine staff writers and commenters, this ad minimizes the efforts of mothers, painting women as superficial and subtly equating a baby or a pregnant belly with a fashionable accessory to match a cute outfit. Is the criticism reaching, trying to find sexism where there might not be any? Perhaps.
But this ad also paints women as deceptive creatures who seduce men into impregnating us against their wishes. Global society already fears women and female fertility; on Mother’s Day, of all days, we should be praising our mothers, not vilifying them.
In addition to all these sexist implications, the commercial excludes men, suggesting that parenthood is something that simply happens to men, regardless of intention. Perhaps this is some unfortunate way of celebrating mothers, inaccurately showing the female as the sole party responsible for human reproduction, but this suggestion is highly offensive to men and women alike. It’s just one stupid ad, but it’s symptomatic of the ways in which our society views parental roles; this kind of thinking results in the notion that children are the responsibility of the mother and not the father. It’s the kind of thinking that leads to unjust fear and anger directed towards women. I can only wonder: what will their Father’s Day ad look like?