Feminist Hermeneutics and Jamba Juice

Last weekend J and I went for a long run and stopped afterward to refuel ourselves with a delicious sugar-bomb smoothie. This was the first time in a while we’ve done this; back in Seattle, when we were training for our first (and only) marathon, we would go pretty regularly to Emerald City Smoothie near our old place on Capitol Hill. Our closest source for a smoothie now happens to be a Jamba Juice, and so it was that I found this artifact:


What caught my attention was “Kids and moms agree.” No dads, of course.

This is something that registers particularly strongly with me as J and I are thinking about having children in the next couple of years. Both of us want to be actively involved with caring for our kids, and to do what we can to make our work schedules flexible enough for that to happen. But if there’s one of us who is more likely to spend more time at home with kids, it’s me. J makes a lot more money than I do, for one thing; and her work is an 8-to-6 schedule, whereas some of mine can be done from home and with flexible hours.

I don’t mean to pick on Jamba Juice too much. “Mom” as shorthand for “parent” is everywhere in our culture. In many ways the prominence of mommy culture in books, blogs, and media is a great thing in that it raises the profile of caring for children as crucially important and meaningful work. Nor do I feel the need to complain as if I were being oppressed and marginalized here. To the extent men are “left out” of the child care scene, it’s because our societal values have privileged men and asssumed they would be doing the more prestigious, more “male” jobs in the marketplace. The Jamba Juice flyer is just a reminder of how far we still have to go before caring for children is seen as both equally valuable with other kinds of work, and something that people would naturally want to participate in regardless of gender.

3 thoughts on “Feminist Hermeneutics and Jamba Juice

  1. Sean

    Hey Stephen,
    I happened to be on facebook and run into this blog post.
    Wow I totally resonate with you here, lots of places assume Moms are the only ones who actively parent.
    Part of this seems to be the fault of our male ancestors who did check out, but I’m with ya.
    Missing you and J in Seattle-

  2. Carolyn Dobervich

    There is a lovely advertisement by Mass Mutual (life insurance, I think) that shows a dad raising two little girls from tea party and fairy princess up through high school age that I love because it presents the contrarian view–dads sometimes are the primary caregivers and they aren’t noticeably different. Not to haul out the old arguments for gender neutral language, but I wish editors would substitute “Parent” for “mom” or “dad” unless it obscures the meaning. I would be interested to know whether either of those pieces was market tested or analyzed for appeal to most likely buyer. I bet Jamba Juice buyers are mainly moms and insurance purchasers mostly men.



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