Diversity & Media

Semiotics and Mother’s Day

Back in 2014, this commercial was aired in lieu of Mother’s Day. The concept for the ad was to hold fake interviews for participants, asking them if they were capable of completing certain tasks that were seemingly impossible, ie having 24 hour work days with no breaks, and then eventually revealing to them that they were interviewing for a position of a mom. The ad sheds light on many nuances women experience as part of their double work day- often holding paid employment positions from 9-5pm, and holding unpaid positions doing domestic work once they get home from paid work. With each interview question, interviewees are turned more off by the prospect of taking on the job, without knowing that the job of a mom is exactly the job description they were prompted with.

Symbolism in the commercial is demonstrated by the way they displace the expected role and responsibilities of a mother without the label of “mom”, so people understand just how time-consuming and under-valued of a role it is. Once people realized that the interviewer was talking about moms, they all realized, “Oh yeah! My mom always does that for me.” Interestingly enough, throughout the fake interviews, participants continuously asked if the questions were serious, argued back, and proved to be resistant. By airing this on television or circulating it on media, its purpose was to show people the extent to which mothers work without receiving due credit, and maybe even inspire audiences to do something extra nice for their mom on Mother’s Day (since it is, of course, a commercialized holiday, and the ad suggests making a card).

By explaining to people the idea that women are disadvantaged through pop culture media, it makes the topic more accessible. When this rhetoric is consistently introduced, it may eventually be engrained into people’s minds, which would not only further a more feminist agenda, but also on a more broad scope introduce contested ideas in a way that people can understand.

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