Mother’s Day marketing is not what it used to be – The Guardian

Posted: March 16, 2020 at 1:47 am

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Give your mum the gift of a lie in or a sex toy. Photograph: Alamy

Mothers Day has got weird. Hasnt it? As I remember it, next Sundays celebration has traditionally been a morning of handmade cards rashy with glitter, a proud bunch of tulips and perhaps jammy toast in bed. Of course these traditions have evolved Ive been aware, as age has come, of the increasing number of afternoon tea deals and heavy marketing of heavy perfumes, neither of which offer much change from a hundred pound note. Soaps stand in for apologies, hand creams are purchased in lieu of a conversation about the past. Here is a bath bomb, signifying regret. This year however, I am conscious of a shift.

A ping, an email: The case for buying your mum a vibrator New sex toy retailer offering 25% off Mothers Day gifts. I dont think of myself as a prude, though yes, I can see the appeal. I can see the appeal of identifying as such, and so being free to ignore the sweaty sexualities of others, their glazed little eyes when somebody says angina. Prudishness has much going for it, but I am a modern woman, able to contemplate and acknowledge the private shadowlands of my fellow passengers evenings without judgment. But Christ, not my MUM. Lovely lady, but she is, always has been and must always remain sexless, thank you. Its not appropriate to gift a vibrator to the woman whose genitalia one once emerged from. Its not appropriate, and its not nice.

Among the other mad and maddening suggestions for Mothers Day ideas Ive tripped up on this week were a list of Instagram captions to pay tribute to your mum, helpfully divided into funny (Cheers to the woman who gave up wine for nine months, just for me), cute, song lyrics and quotes (A mothers arms are more comforting than anyone elses, Princess Diana). The idea here being that a person can copy and paste her love from a pre-approved selection, only one typing finger necessary to @ literally the person who created her. Im struggling to imagine something that requires less effort. Blinking, perhaps. Raising a buttock for a muted fart.

More creative, yet just as baffling is the new scheme in Hull providing small thank-you cards for strangers to give to mothers they see breastfeeding in public. Again, weird. Why should a passerby be thankful a stranger was feeding their child? If the card came from the suckling kid hanging off her chafed tit on a cold March morning I could perhaps see the logic.

Elsewhere, the Daily Mail has published a list of self-help books to give as Mothers Day gifts, which, call me old-fashioned, I would very much take as a passive-aggressive snipe from an unappreciative whinger whos neither paid me back for last years loan nor, clearly, is willing to listen to my advice on eyebrow plucking. And finally, in the window of Boots (which last year did a Mothers Day promotion on intimate feel condoms, and has this year added a rack of Berocca to their seasonal display) a sign urging customers to celebrate Mothers Day by purchasing menopause hero products for them, including discreet bottles of Durex lube. Happy Mothers Day Mummy, just a little something to help your boyfriend guide himself in more smoothly, Xx.

Could the new Mothers Day marketing have been inspired by the campaigns around International Womens Day, which fell with a pinkish clank a fortnight earlier? It is certainly familiar, this soggy combination of commodified female pleasure, misplaced branding and expensive mindfulness. We have become accustomed to being sold our feminine celebrations wrapped in empowerment, accustomed to every female emotion being price-tagged, sugared and sold back to us as feminist. For every occasion women have come to expect a slogan T-shirt telling us how fierce we are, and in every gift bag a book explaining, actually, how we could improve. This is how such celebrations are marked now, in cupcakes and sweet things to help the medicine go down.

The history of Mothers Day can be plotted back to ancient Greece, where they honoured Rhea, mother of many mythological gods who tricked her husband into swallowing a stone rather than their baby; then through to the Roman festival Hilaria, dedicated to another mother goddess, Cybele. In the 1600s, mothers were celebrated in England on the fourth Sunday of Lent, and the day was made official in 1872. Far be it from me to sigh at the modern world it has treated me well; I have two pairs of Uggs but even I can see a disconnect between the gentle honouring of women who bore us, and the sparkling confusion of politicised boredom.

I will fight for the right of women to have afternoon teas at fancy hotels, and to wear a Badass Mama shirt, and for Dior to decorate their catwalk with feminist platitudes (Womens love is unpaid labour) in order to sell high-heeled boots. But personally, this Mothers Day I am hoping to receive the gift of a lie-in, and I will be giving daffodils. My mum can sort out her own vagina.

Email Eva at or follow her on Twitter @EvaWiseman

Excerpt from:
Mother's Day marketing is not what it used to be - The Guardian

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March 16th, 2020 at 1:47 am

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