Every once in awhile, the religious right turns its five-inch guns on a product that supposedly isn’t espousing good “family values.” The latest to fall within the crosshairs of the nation’s so-called moral guardians is Unilever’s Dove personal care line. Apparently they aren’t too keen on an ad that includes a cross-dressing mom.
Dove’s line of baby care products, Baby Dove, recently launched a campaign called “#RealMoms.” The idea behind it is simple–there’s no perfect way to be a mom. All that really counts is if you’re willing to give your child all of your love. The first ad in the campaign rolled out in early April; watch it here.
One mom featured in the ad is raising her baby on a cattle ranch. Another lets her baby watch her practice her break dancing skills. But most of the attention is focused on the third mom in the ad, Shea, a grad student who recently had a son. As it turns out, Shea is a man who cross-dresses as a woman, and identifies both himself and his wife as his son’s mothers.
That doesn’t sit well with One Million Moms, a long-running campaign of the American Family Association that seeks to organize Christian moms and grandmothers to combat the supposedly unwholesome messages directed at kids. Campaign director Monica Cole told OneNewsNow, the in-house online news arm of AFA, that Dove was being “absurd” in pushing an ad that risked “offending its target market.”
However, One Million Moms’ pearl-clutching appeal to its followers about this ad can only be described as absurd. Consider this paragraph.
“‘Shea’ inarguably has a sex. He is objectively and immutably a man. The lowest-bar requirement for mothers is that they are objectively female. The essential feature of mothers is their objective sex as females. Whatever else a mother is, she is first and necessarily a woman. This man is not, and never can be a woman, and, therefore, he is not, and never can be a mother.”
Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! There is a minimum requirement to be a mother–but it has nothing to do with sex and everything to do with the heart. A mother has to be willing to give all of her love to her children. Period, full stop. Regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, that is the only thing that should matter.
I’ve met my fair share of moms who supposedly meet One Millon Moms’ “lowest-bar requirement”–and yet, they are manifestly unfit by any standard to be mothers. My ex-wife is a textbook example. This was a woman who hit her own son in the head out of anger when he was a baby, and couldn’t be bothered to file a response when her husband filed an affidavit about the incident.
One Million Moms goes on to say that Shea has “in effect abandoned his son” by choosing to live as a woman, since his son won’t have a male role model. This is a recycled version of an argument the religious right has used for years against allowing LGBT people to adopt. However, there is no credible study showing that kids raised in LGBT households turn out any worse than kids raised in straight households.
On the contrary, nearly all credible studies show that children aren’t at any disadvantage if they’re raised in an LGBT home. The one study that purported to prove that kids raised in LGBT households didn’t turn out well was conducted by University of Texas sociology professor Mark Regnerus, and has been exposed as so fatally flawed that it shouldn’t be used to make policy.
As long as Shea’s son receives the love and nurturing he needs, it shouldn’t matter whether he has two mothers. Let One Million Moms know what you think of their tone-deaf line on their Facebook page. Their Twitter feed seems to have been inactive for a month, but let them have it there as well. Be sure to let Dove know we’ve got their back on Facebook and on their Website as well.
(featured image: screenshot courtesy Dove/Unilever via One Million Moms)