Mothers in a northern Virginia county are not happy after a school district ran an advertisement that shames and talks down to them.
The print ad appeared in the Loudoun County Public Schools’ (LCPS) annual report and was also made into a video that was shared on Facebook. It advertises a new app that contains resources for parents like online lunch menus, sports schedules, bus routes and even grades. Sounds like a great idea, right? It all goes downhill from there.
The ad begins with the line “Are you that mom?” at the top followed by a picture of a cartoon tiger mom and her child driving in a car. The text at the bottom continues, “The mom who is uncertain what the first day of school is but think it might be a Thursday. The mom who missed the PTA meeting. The mom who can’t remember what time soccer practice ends.”
Then there's the kicker: "Don't let your yoga pants get tied in a knot this back-to-school season! Download the LCPS app and stay ahead of the game.”
That's right—all moms are flaky, forgetful, yoga-pants-clad messes. (Dads, apparently, don't need apps. Or to keep up with their kids.) And this is from school administrators!
Not surprisingly, the ad received strong negative criticism from local moms.
“As a working mom of two LCPS kids, I found it insensitive, sexist and divisive,” said Darcy Hubbard Cunningham in an interview with the Loudoun Times-Mirror. “It really felt like something entrenched in the mommy wars—the good moms vs. the bad moms. I could not believe that anyone in the administration OK’d this or thought it was appropriate."
Another mom says that she isn’t happy with the way it portrays mothers and the message it may send to children who see it.
"I have a daughter and I have a son," said Huyen MacMichael in an interview with WUSA9.com. "And, I don't want them to get this message that women belong in the house, that women are flaky."
People also pointed out that the ad doesn’t mention fathers at all. Shouldn't they also be responsible for remembering their kids' school duties and schedule?
MacMichael points out that by using tigers to depict a mother and child, the ad is alluding to the racist stereotypes of Asian mothers being “Tiger Moms.”
The school district has taken down the online version of the ad and apologized for running it. "We produced the video using broad satire, hoping people would not mind a little fun being poked at an outlandish depiction of the hectic lifestyle in our area," said LCPS Public Information Officer Wayde Byard. "We apologize to anyone who might have been offended."
Whether or not the ad was intentionally trying to put down working moms, it still highlights an important truth. Moms are expected to be on top of everything, yet are shamed when they make a simple mistake like missing a PTA meeting. And dads aren't expected to be in the picture at all.