The new tagline: "Mom Was Here." But where's Dad? And will President Obama be more publicly involved in the Let's Move! campaign in Year Two?
The Ad Council has created a video & print series of PSAs in conjunction with Let's Move! and USDA for the first anniversary of First Lady Michelle Obama's campaign, and these will appear in 33,000 outlets, according to Mrs. Obama. They're supposed to be focused on parents of both genders, but are mothercentric, carrying the tagline 'Mom Was Here.' See the new momcentric videos, below. (Above: The photo from the Let's Move! website that accompanies the new PSAs)
There's no equivalent 'Dad Was Here' component to the Let's Move! campaign. On Tuesday, during a reporters luncheon for the campaign anniversary, ObFo asked if fathers will be more vigorously incorporated into the Let's Move! campaign rhetoric in the future--and if President Obama will be getting in on the campaign in a more public way. Both Mrs. Obama and Melody Barnes, Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, and chair of the Task Force on Childhood Obesity, said the President will not be taking a public role. (Above: Mrs. Obama speaks at the luncheon)
And despite the campaign appearing to be momcentric, it's actually about entire families, both Mrs. Obama and Barnes said.
"When I talk personally, I talk about my experiences as a mother because that's who I am. I do try to recognize, and I think we do it with "Let's Move,” that this isn’t about mothers," Mrs. Obama said. "This is about families."
Barnes noted that the West Wing supports the initiative, but the President is not going to be visibly involved because he's busy with other fatherc projects, such as the White House mentoring program, and he supports father issues. The President has put "a spotlight" on "father absence and the importance of fathers in a child’s life," Barnes said.
She added that the West Wing has had much to do with the campaign.
"The Child Nutrition Reauthorization was a major success for the first two years of this administration and something all of us in the West Wing worked on in conjunction with those in the East Wing to produce," Barnes said.
Old stereotypes reinforced...
Still, the gender bias towards Moms as the principal overseers of feeding children and encouraging them to be fit and active can't be missed. And it reinforces longstanding, culture-wide gender stereotypes that this role should be primarily the concern of mothers. That's a big problem, when 70 percent of mothers now work outside the home. And because the campaign is designed to raise children's awareness of healthy eating and fitness so they can eventually raise their own children to be healthy and fit, it's sending the message to the current generation of boys that the future mothers of their children should be principally responsible for child health issues, too. For a White House that has vigorously promoted womens equality in the workplace (including with legislation such as the Lily Ledbetter act), in education, and elsewhere, it's an interesting disconnection.
Two of the new momecentric PSAs: "Wallet"
And then there's this one: "Blackout"
Some of the new PSAs don't mention parents at all: "Park Day"
This Spanish language PSA is the best of the current crop: "T-Shirts"
Related: The First Lady's Let's Move! anniversary speech, in Alpharetta, Georgia, which focused on the power of all parents to change the nation, is here. Her campaign anniversary video is here. Read the White House list of campaign achievements in Year One. A video about the First Lady's travels for the campaign anniversary is here.
In this post, historians and members of Mrs. Obama's East Wing team weigh in on the campaign at the one-year mark. Here's an ObFo essay about the Let's Move! launch, written when the campaign hit the six-month milestone.
*Top photo from Let's Move! webiste; second by Chuck Kennedy/White House