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JCPenney Father's Day ad normalizes gay parenting

Monica Beyer is a mom of four and has been writing professionally since 2000, when her first book, Baby Talk, was published. Her main area of interest is attachment parenting and all that goes with it, including breastfeeding, co-sleepin...

Response to One Million Moms’ attempted boycott

JCPenney has seemingly responded to One Million Moms and their failed efforts to boycott the company after they hired gay actress Ellen DeGeneres as a spokesperson.
Response to One Million Moms’ attempted boycott

Just in time for Father's Day, their newest catalog features a happy family with two dads.

JCPenney has a striking picture of a family in their newest catalog. Two parents, two children, all laughing and having a good time. The unique thing about the family is that it features two dads — real-life couple Todd Koch and Cooper Smith and their two kids. The ad reads, “First Pals: What makes Dad so cool? He's the swim coach, tent maker, best friend, bike fixer and hug giver — all rolled into one. Or two." Many parents love the ad, but some feel that the retailer isn’t sincere and is simply using the ad as a way to gain customers.

One Million Moms

Earlier this year, JCPenney became the unwitting target of the group One Million Moms when they hired gay actress Ellen DeGeneres to be their new spokesperson. The group, a division of the right-wing American Family Association, attempted a boycott of the popular retailer unless they rescinded their offer to Ellen. JCPenney stuck by their decision, the boycott failed to gain momentum and One Million Moms has been left behind.

This ad, coupled with one that ran in May featuring a two-mom household, seems to be JCPenney’s response to the attempted boycott. What do parents have to say about the ad?

Simple media ploy?

Some have questioned whether JCPenney truly endorses same-sex couples and parenting and have railed upon the department store for using the image as a simple marketing ploy. “I think it’s a little exploitative,” explained Faith, mom of one. “It feels like they are using same-sex parents for their own marketing needs... it feels cheap to me.”

However, other parents fully supported this particular strategy because it helps normalize many different types of families. “It worked,” said Liz, mother of two. “I'll be shopping there this weekend and never would have thought to before. I'll support this kind of ‘marketing ploy’ every time.”

Christy from Kentucky agreed. “It has to start somewhere, even if the pic is for advertisement,” she explained. “I think the more the message is out there, maybe people will be more desensitized by it and more accepting. Bravo and I'm more likely to shop there because of it.”


Many parents we talked to loved the ad and had a very positive response to it. “My hope is that one day, seeing same-sex couples represented in media is so normal and commonplace that no one ever question it or seek to call it a ‘marketing ploy,’” shared Brooke, mother of one.

“It is a direct response to Millions of Moms trying to boycott for their use of Ellen DeGeneres,” reported Kelly from California. “The ad is such a huge ‘up yours’ to them. I love it.”

Tell us

What do you think of the ad? Is JCPenney overstepping bounds by exploiting single sex parents? Or are they on the modern edge, offering a refreshing view of what family can be?

More on same-sex parenting

Two babies and no pregnancy for Jillian Michaels
Same-sex parenting tips
Gay/lesbian parents board

Photo credit: JCPenney

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