I saw the campaign materials for the Hello Magazine and Next Official Star Mum Awards and didn’t think anything of them, I didn’t bat an eyelid…until it was pointed out to me that the team seemed very white and very middle class. And then it struck me like the revealing of a magic eye picture…yes, yes they are.
What surprised me more than the strange decision to have a panel of extremely similar looking people representing a campaign supposedly based on variety and difference…was the fact I hadn’t even noticed.
Have I become so used to seeing this one narrow definition of motherhood paraded about in the media that I have come to subconsciously accept it?
I am sure the ladies featured in this campaign are all amazing people, and this isn’t a criticism of them at all. But the decision to have an all white, all middle class campaign team, in my opinion is a mistake. A costly one.
I wouldn’t normally think it to be a problem, I believe in a meritocracy and for the best person to get the job, completely irrelevant of background and lifestyle, but in this case the campaign is about motherhood…the celebration of motherhood. And sadly the campaign materials scream ‘we only want to celebrate one kind of motherhood.’
What About Us
If they had a panel completely comprised of half Chinese women in pink dresses and long socks, as amazing as that would be (because on a serious note, the representation of Chinese people throughout the media today is still lagging behind most groups, but back to the topic in hand) – it would be awkward. And that’s what this campaign is…awkward.
It completely alienates disabled mothers. Asian mothers. Black mothers. Single mothers. Muslim mothers. Lesbian mothers. Basically any mother that doesn’t meet the specific standards set by the campaign materials. That’s a lot of mothers. Sorry ladies, Star Mum just isn’t for you.
Motherhood in the real world doesn’t look like that magazine cover, and isn’t real motherhood what the campaign is claiming to represent?
There hasn’t even been an attempt to portray motherhood in all it’s diverse glory.
I am not offended by the campaign, I’m not even angry, I’m just a bit sad.
It’s sad that all these influential people are still pushing the same narrow definition of what is worthy of celebration and recognition. It’s sad that nobody in the entire process looked at it and thought…’wait this isn’t representative or inclusive.’ It’s sad that a huge number of women, who don’t match the Hello Magazine standards for what a good mum looks like, will feel it isn’t for them or about them.
Failure to show diversity on a campaign like this is just really really awkward. It’s not the real world.
So to all the mothers out there who feel they have been deemed ‘not good enough’ for recognition, representation and celebration…forget the Star Mum awards, we don’t need them to tell us we are fabulous, shining in all our colours and creeds and shapes and sizes, misfits and outsiders…lets celebrate each other and look to our friends, families and communities for representations of motherhood worthy of star status.
Let’s hope change is on the horizon .