A Medibank advertisement is being criticised for “mum-shaming” over the wording in the commercial in which a child thanks her mother for “walking out” and “coming home late”.
The ad, which has aired on free-to-air TV, shows a mum in exercise clothing leaving the house while her daughter provides a voiceover.
“Thanks mum, thanks for walking out,” the girl says.
“For coming home late for like, the second time this week.”
Throughout the ad, the father is seen alone with the kids while the mum comes and goes.
“That’s it, focus on yourself,” the little girl continues. “Just look at what you’ve done to us.”
The 30-second ad finishes with the mother and daughter lying together on a trampoline, with Medibank’s voiceover encouraging people to care for themselves as “it impacts everyone around you” in a positive manner.
‘Your commercial missed the mark’
However, people have criticised the commercial for “missing the mark” and shaming mums who take time for themselves outside of the home.
“This commercial is disgraceful,” one woman wrote on Facebook.
“It is well known that mums all over the country carry guilt about trying to juggle a family, a spouse, a career, a home, a social life, a fitness routine etc.
“Your commercial has missed the mark with its sombre music and depressing voice over. You're not inspiring me to take care of myself, you just magnified my guilt for wanting to.”
Medibank trying to ‘challenge stigma’
In a response to the woman’s comment, Medibank wrote it had “no intention” of making anyone feel guilty.
“We want to support all mums and dads to look after themselves,” the insurance giant said.
“We know that self-care can sometimes feel selfish and we're trying to challenge that stigma by showing the amazing knock-on effect that caring for yourself has on those around you.”
On Twitter, one woman tweeted she was “horrified” by the commercial which “mum-shames” women.
@medibank I am HORRIFIED by your new add which aired tonight which mum shames women who try to better themselves and who work late to earn more money to make a better life for your families. Your add says mothers can only be mothers and domestic caretakers. Mothers are people.— lizika (@nerdistfangirl) July 21, 2019
Does anyone think the #Medibank_ad gives a negative impression of the mother? It makes her sound as though she has abandoned her family, not look after herself to be there for them.— Maria (@SignorinaMaria) July 27, 2019
Disgusted by the @medibank add I just saw during Masterchef break. Guilting mothers for having a life. What if dad is the main carer?— Matt (@matthew_forsyth) July 21, 2019
“Your ad says mothers can only be mothers and domestic caretakers,” she tweeted.
“Mothers are people.”
One man added the commercial guilts mothers “for having a life”.
In a statement to Yahoo News Australia, Medibank chief customer officer David Koczar said the ad “aims to challenge the notion that it’s selfish to take time out to look after yourself”.
“We’re sorry if people have taken our new ad to mean something other than what is intended,” Mr Koczar said.
“We want to inspire all Australians to make positive, healthy changes not only for themselves, but for those closest to them, and our Live Better campaign aims to challenge the notion that it’s selfish to take time out to look after yourself.”
He added mums “often feel guilty” for taking time away from family to do something for themselves and the ad “is not designed” to shame them.
“Rather it aims to highlight the benefits that come from a parent taking time for themselves to exercise and the positive impact that has on the rest of the family,” he said.
“The campaign tag line, ‘When you live better, we’re all better for it’ speaks to the positive impact that caring for yourself has on everyone around you.”
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