Outrageous real estate flyer slams working moms
After seeing this poorly conceived advertisement sent out by a Seattle real estate company, working moms are outraged, and they have every reason to be.
It's one of those "what were they thinking" moments that is enough to make you cringe. The real estate ad was mailed out by Costello and Costello Real Estate Group, located in Issaquah, Washington, near Seattle.
The now viral-for-all-the-wrong-reasons ad shows two different pictures: On one side, we have the dynamic duo real estate team and "Full Time Professionals," Chase and Jeffrey Costello. (Hint: You're supposed to pick them.) On the other side, we have the "Part Time Agent," a sad and downtrodden mother being tortured by her children. (No one in their right mind would pick her.)
But the Costellos don't stop there. Of course not. They make sure to hammer the point home that part-time working moms aren't fit for the workforce with the tagline, "Available at THEIR convenience, not yours."
What these two gentlemen failed to factor in was that there were plenty of working moms who received the flyer — considering that four out of 10 households have a mother who is either the sole or primary breadwinner in the family. And these working moms were paying attention.
Facebook users were ready to tear the ad apart, before the real estate company's page was predictably taken down, with comments like, "Very disrespectful to insinuate a woman can't fulfill responsibilities as a mother and real estate agent."
The Costello and Costello Real Estate Group issued an apology via its Facebook page on Monday for the ad, which we can all agree was highly offensive, disrespectful, sexist and closed-minded.
But if there's even a slight chance that Costello and Costello still don't understand what went wrong with their "innocent" advertisement, we are here to break it down for them. It's a fact that working women and working moms don't have it easy. First, there is the overwhelming working mom guilt based on antiquated gender roles, where women are accused of allowing day care to raise their kids for them. Then, there's the absolutely pathetic maternity leave in the United States compared to many other countries, forcing some women to head back to work in as little as three days after giving birth. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer recently made waves when she announced that she would be taking only two weeks of parental leave when her twins are due in December.
But that's not even the best part. We have working mom guilt, ridiculous day care costs and unfair maternity leave. And then these working moms have to go to work and deal with misogynistic employers like Costello and Costello, who genuinely believe that women with children do not belong in the workforce. Whether intentional or not, these realtors sent a clear message to working moms everywhere: They don't think it's possible for a woman to juggle children and a successful career. And they don't appear to even factor in a father's supporting role. Apparently all child care responsibilities rest only on the mother.
As blood-boiling as this tone deaf ad may be, working parents everywhere can take it as a blessing in disguise. We already know working mothers need all the support they can get, but this ad might just be the straw that broke the camel's back. It's easy to scoff when major companies like Netflix change their parental leave policies to benefit both parents because it seems like this gendered, 1950s women-don't-belong-in-the-workforce attitude doesn't exist anymore. But clearly, it does.
It's sad that we still have to prove that working parents are capable employees who aren't tied down by their children, but not every company has jumped into the 21st century yet. It may be 2015, but until every employer starts to see working parents as equals, working moms (and dads) still need our support.