How can Amazon.com produce a show as inclusive as “Transparent” and yet run a discount program that argues that moms (and moms alone) represent families? It’s time for that to change…
If you’ve been on social media over the past few days, you may have seen this image about online giant Amazon.com making the rounds:
So far, it’s been featured on Buzzfeed, Today.com, Adweek, and The Huffington Post, and it’s gone viral across social networks like Twitter and Facebook as well. So, why are parents so adamant about a simple name change?
In a word, it’s about RESPECT.
Amazon Mom is a membership program that the retailer runs offering parents special discounts on necessities like diapers and baby formula (including formula that’s closest to breast milk), email recommendations, a 30-day trial of Amazon Prime, and so on. It’s definitely something any new parent would be interested in, particularly if they’re stuck in the Pampers and Similac years. Which all begs the question – if it’s something that has universal appeal to PARENTS, why is it called AMAZON MOM? Why can’t it be called Amazon FAMILY?
It’s not just a question of semantics. There are some real-life societal prejudices built into the name of this program. While moms are, undeniably, amazing, why did Amazon name their program in a way that suggests that moms define the needs of all families? What about dads? What about gay dads, where a mom is never going to be a part of those parenting decisions? What about grandparents who raise their kids? Or aunts or uncles or ANY OTHER KIND OF CAREGIVER?
And this seems like a particularly hypocritical social stance after Amazon has recently won wide acclaim for their TV series Transparent, a show that has done a groundbreaking job of redefining how gender is portrayed in modern families. Jeffrey Tambor’s brilliant portrayal of Maura does a remarkable job of showing that, it doesn’t matter if a parent self-identifies as a mom or a dad, all that matters is that they are a parent, first and foremost.
The name “Amazon Mom” pigeonholes moms AND it completely overlooks the contributions of pretty much every other non-mother caregiver in America.
And, I mean, in America, because, ODDLY ENOUGH, Amazon calls their parenting membership program “Amazon Family” in almost EVERY other country EXCEPT for the United States. Isn’t that ridiculous? Doesn’t this seem like such an easy, no-brainer thing for Amazon to fix?
One of the reasons that the internet is exploding with this image this week is that Oren Miller, a beloved and popular parenting blogger tragically died last week, after a heartbreaking battle with cancer, and Oren had been writing about his frustration with the Amazon Mom program for years. After his passing, many of his colleagues decided to take up Oren’s torch and continue the fight.
If you’re interested in adding your voice to masses asking Amazon to change the name of Amazon Mom to Amazon Family, there’s a petition on Change.org with almost 5,000 signatures already.
Some have argued that Amazon Mom is a more appealing name for marketing purposes. And I know that’s probably true. Amazon is such a monster of a corporation that there’s probably some marketing report on Jeff Bezos’ desk that explains, in explicit detail, why “Amazon Moms” is the perfect market-tested, brand-approved name for a parenting discount program in the United States.
But that doesn’t matter.
It doesn’t. Because, again, this is about respect. This is about holding a company accountable for their espoused core values. This is about moms and dads and everyone else telling Amazon “If you say that the program is ‘aimed at helping parents and caregivers’ and you call it Amazon Mom, we see a HUGE disconnect there and we want you to fix it.”
And if you don’t want them to fix it, that’s fine. But if you’re a mom and you’re sick of people treating you like a walking diaper bag OR if you’re a dad who thinks he deserves some respect for being an independent parent OR if you’re any other kind of caregiver, it might be worth telling Amazon that a simple program name change could go a long way to making you feel more respected.
So, if you’re so inclined, whether you’re doing it for equality, Oren’s memory, or your own personal frustration, I would urge you to express your opinion online about the Amazon Mom issue. You can sign the Change.org petition here or follow the discussion on Twitter via the #AmazonFamilyUS hashtag.
At the very least, it would be nice to see Amazon respond to the campaign – to date, they haven’t yet –and perhaps offer some explanation for why they think all American families are solely defined by moms.