Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Ladies and Mommies

Monkey and I were in the car today travelling to the Value Village to find atrocious $4 sweaters to harvest for yarn. That is an idea I got from my friend on the wet coast and I think it is so brilliant I am following her lead. So on the way Monkey looked out the window, and in her usual way said "What's that, Ahmmy?" As we were at a stop light I could follow her gaze and see that she was looking at a billboard ad of a lady in 80's sweats gleefully holding a cellphone to her ear.
I have just finished a class on mass communication in which I studied, in depth, the ramifications of media on society and my final essay was 8 pages on the subject of billboard advertising; the techniques used and the ways it damages society. So when my toddler pointed out that ad only 2 days after I finished writing this rather dense essay I was at a loss as to what, exactly, to respond to the innocent question; "what's that, Ahmmy?" Do I go into a lecture on how the imagery is misogynistic and may damage her self-esteem? Do I ignore the question all together? Do I lie in some "benign" way by not acknowledging that it is an advertisement for a phone? Do I explain the elements in the imagery and what they are meant to represent?
She's 2, people and I am taking mass media WAY too seriously, I think.
"That is a lady" I replied mildly.
"Lady?" She says, true to form.
"No...not lady" Monkey responds pensively. "That is a....mommy!"
"A mommy?" I say.
"Yes" she asserts. "That is a mommy."
So evidently there is a distinction between ladies and mommies and apparently mommies smile gleefully off the tops of buildings like Olivia Newton John King Kongs! Please adjust all preconceived notions accordingly.