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I don’t get much spam anymore, but when I did, I noticed a pattern in how it was advertised to me. The ads that stood out the most to me were of this type: “Missoula Mom makes $XXXXX a year working from home using THESE tips!”, “Missoula Mom lost 50 pounds with ACAI BERRY!!”, “Missoula Mom discovers teeth whitening secret dentists don’t want you to know about!”

I was always very puzzled by their emphasis not only on my location (Come on, like I don’t know that they know my IP address) but also, the fact that it was a mother who made this oh-so amazing discovery. Some even up the ante and add “single” to mom. I’m not single or a mother, so I was unsure how this was supposed to appeal to me or other Missoulians who were not mothers.

Maybe I am stretching a bit here, but I think the reason is they were going with the flow of the very obnoxious trend of pinning “moms” against “experts”, with the moms being good, simple, wholesome and having your best interests at heart, whereas the experts are cold and unfeeling authoritarians who are looking for the best way to scam you out of your money or make you and your children sick for profit. Don’t believe that this is a trend? Six words for you: Jenny McCarthy versus the entire CDC.

This annoys me beyond belief. I’m hardly one to support making arguments from authority, as an autistic person who finds a lot of the “expert” advice from doctors and researchers on autism to be dubious, but I don’t swing so far in the opposite direction that I think a “typical Missoula mom” (who presumably has no professional background or education in fields like epidemiology, paediatric medicine, and getting peer-reviewed papers published, according to this logic) and her homespun wisdom are just what the doctor (didn’t) order. Ads like this seem to cater to the type of people who would trust a playboy bunny and her degree from Google University over the top scientists in the fields mentioned above. Now, spam, you’ve gone and hurt by feelings by insulting my intelligence!

The ads also seemed to play on this idea that “mom” is the only identity that someone who uncovered this can have. I guess it wouldn’t be as eye-grabbing and interesting to have the spam say, “Missoula Certified Public Accountant discovers new secret to erase wrinkles” or “Missoula Business consultant uses these tricks to stay fit!” Again, I’m stretching, but making “mom” the primary identity seems to imply that mothers are the last people on earth who could be expected to make such an interesting discovery, even in fields which seem to prey on that stereotype of a particular type of mother, such as making money from home and staying slim, young, and beautiful. Priorities, you know. /snerk

Before I get too convoluted and wrapped up in all this nonsense stew, I’ll sum it up: It’s sexist and stupid to base entire ad campaigns around this idea that it’s incredible that a woman with children uncovered these incredible secrets to wealth, health, or beauty. It caters to a disturbing societal trend towards distrusting science and evidence-based medicine and truth in favour of something pulled out of someone’s butt and slapped with the label of “intuition” or “instinct”. And use Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox, not Internet Explorer, please.

That’s enough of overthinking it for now. No more coffee for me.

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