The Bay has launched its Mothers Day promotional guide full of “Every Thing She Loves”but noticeably absent from the pages was any mother over the age of 40. It was my own mother who brought this to my attention after she had thumbed through the pages, called me and said “Have you seen the latest Bay flyer for Mother’s Day?” I replied, “No.” She then began to explain to me that (with the exception of Jeanne Beker) there isn’t one picture of a woman her age or even a grandmother. She questioned “What? Aren’t we mothers too?
All the clothes were geared to young mothers who must have children and partners with very deep pockets. With emerald and diamonds jewelery well over $1000, most perfumes were over $100 and even lingerie being a trendy gift for Mother; a little card, flowers or dinner appears to be passe. “You know I have always loved lingerie but I wouldn’t be expecting that for mothers day!” my mother said.
Let me tell you what this really meant to my mother, as she ages she become less and less relevant. She lives in a world full of age discrimination, erased from the consciousness of advertisers except if they are peddling medications or leak proof under-garments. The Bay, a Canadian institution bought out some years back by a U.S company, has changed like so many things in her life and it is frustrating. Beyond her realization that this promotion failed to consider mothers of all ages was her observation that most of the featured products did not make sense as gifts for this special day and I tend to agree.
Is this really what mothers expect to receive? or Is this just another opportunity to exploit a day of respect and persuade us all to show our love through Coach, Michael Kors and Prada. You can bet it was the latter! Persuasion and exploitation go hand in hand in the world of advertising. Lines like “the Golden Rule: Treat Her” next to diamonds and gold, “There’s no Present like the time” for Fossil watches and “Objects of Affection” to describe earrings and pearls, do we need to guess who their target buyer really is? No pressure for any child or partner intended, of course.
One day, it will probably happen as it has with my mother. I will be sitting in my chair and it will dawn on me… I no longer exist. I will recall when I turned heads and wore heals that were bad for my feet but great for attention. I will have to be more savvy with my shopping in order to find the clothes that stylishly suit my age. I will be surfing the television channels to find shows that use language I can understand and some representation of a woman over the age of 60. I will be flipping through a magazine or flyer searching for “Every thing I love” and finding it really hard to even find one product, article or picture that speaks to me. I’m not looking forward to that reality.
My mother still wears heels and other not so grandmotherly looking things. Though, she would never want her kids to buy her any of those items, (preferring instead to receive a beautiful card) she wouldn’t have minded having The Bay, and others like them, remember that she’s a mother too.
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