November 17 2008

I Am Offended By People Being Offended

Oh good grief, I love people with too much time on their hands on the weekend.

I was swamped this weekend with working on numerous projects, and only caught the briefest of glimpses of a brewing controversy on Twitter.  For those of you unfamiliar with the microblogging site, if you want to have a running conversation on a subject, you use a thing called hash tags.  Well, the hash tag #motrinmoms popped up this weekend in relation to a new ad campaign started by Motrin.  You can see the ad embedded below.

As I was going through my RSS feeds tonight, Duncan Riley at The Inquisitr posted a great piece about his thoughts on it, and he got me to researching it.  It only took me a few minutes to come to the conclusion that this, like so many things people get worked up over, is much ado about nothing.

What gets me more than anything is that the people who are irked can’t even agree as to why they are offended by it.  Some say it is because it implies that mothers who wear their babies are doing it for fashion or for their egos.  Others say it is the part where is says “Supposedly, it’s a real bonding experience.”  Well, to that part, I can tell you bluntly, unless your kid has said ‘Oh thank you mother, I feel so much more bonded to you now’, then guess what, “supposedly” is the correct word.  You can mention all the studies you want, but your kid could be a lot quieter simply because you just keep jostling them with every step.

As to those who are offended by the fashion angle, while I am sure some parents do it for bonding or other reasons, I can also tell you I have seen numerous parents that truly do it for fashion.  They pay no attention as their child’s head rolls around at dangerous angles right in front of them, or the child is on their back putting everything they can get a hold of into their mouth.  So, yes, I am afraid to tell you, there are many parents out there that aren’t doing it for the “bonding” experience.

I fully realize that 99% of my blog entries deal with me complaining about something, but I would like to think that usually I am at least somewhat constructive.  In this case, these offended #motrinmoms are demanding an apology from Motrin, claiming they will never buy the brand again and discussing how there should be boycotts of the brand, the ad agency and everything else.

In this day and age, is there really anything that can be said in an ad that won’t end up offending some random group of people?  Doubtful.  The energy being expeneded in this whole ranting and raving could be used in about a million other constructive ways, or you could just ignore the ad and go on about your day.  Demanding an apology from the company is just flabbergasting to me, it’s not like they have some how offended a minority or ethic group, they have “offended” a group of people who choose a way to carry their child.  True, Motrin could have picked any way of carrying a child as the source of your back pain, because, guess what, moving a child from place to place is not easy work!  Be it on your hip, pushed in a stroller or some other way I am not even be familiar with, children can hurt your back.

If we keep up this culture of being offended at everything out there we will soon have ads that are black words of the brand name on white backgrounds with nothing else being seen.  Course, that will last until the Mauve Lovers of America get offended at the lack of mauve in advertising.

In short… get over it folks.  Not just the people offended by Motrin, but in general.  Every sub-culture of a sub-culture that gets offended by some random word.  Grow a thicker skin and move along.

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  • djcitymaus

    Hmm, maybe new moms are just really hormonal and have no sense of perspective?

    Now, if Motrin said that, there would be ground war. :)

  • At the risk of incurring the wrath of mommy bloggers everywhere, may I inquire if anyone understands sarcasm anymore? I viewed the ad as a tongue in cheek testament to the struggles real moms face daily, keeping up appearances while getting through the day. Personally, most smart mommies I know learned to buy the much more affordable generic ibuprofen ages ago. Thank you, Sean, for encouraging us all to lower our self-regard and grow thicker skin.

  • Contrary Jack

    Several things:

    1) Dads wear babies too. I did with both my kids–sling for the first, backpack for the second.

    2) Sorry, Sean, but I have to disagree with you about the “you don’t know if you’re bonded until your kid can tell you” thing. Nonverbals exist; babies have them. Babies are REALLY good at letting people who are holding them know whether they’re comfortable with them or not. A baby who snuggles in with you is a secure baby. A baby who snuggles in with you reliably, time after time, is bonded to you (and you can be pretty sure that you’re bonded to that baby, too). This is kind of like being in love, though–it’s sometimes hard to recognize it if you haven’t been there. (Actually, it’s EXACTLY like being in love.)

    3) These people complain about the thing that bothers them; you complain about them complaining. And *they’re* supposed to get over it? I mean, isn’t a certain amount of complaint about anything and everything just the predictable consequence of an imperfect world and human race? Is your complaint about their complaint (their complaint which in no way affects you) really so much more reasonable than their complaint about a Motrin ad that they’ve overinterpreted?

    Not that I’m complaining, mind you :) There’s a law of conservation of discontents, I think.

    Keep care!

  • I think they need an excuse to get outraged now that the election is over.

    Thank you for pointing this out, I was going to do the same for my blog, but I’m tired

  • Jack – Wondered where you’ve been :)

    1. Yes, dads wear babies, and I remember wearing yours, but unlike the people I mentioned, you actually paid attention to what they were doing. I see more and more people acting like they are just wearing a backpack.

    2. Bonding could come from any number of things, and it very well could be from carrying them. My problem was with the moms getting angry over the word “supposedly”, like it was some great offense that anyone would suggest anything other than what they believe. Bonding DOES exist, but does carrying the child directly contribute to the bonding? Hard to say.

    3. I fully admitted in the article that I got the irony I was complaining about people complaining :P