Many mothers would (secretly) be happy to skip Mother’s Day because they see it as nothing more than a Hallmark holiday. But model-slash-activist Christy Turlington Burns is asking us to skip it for a different reason altogether. She’s launched a “No Mother’s Day” campaign – part of the Every Mother Counts organization she founded in 2010 – aimed at raising awareness of the 360 million women who die each year from from pregnancy or childbirth-related problems. It’s an important message – that goes without saying – but her campaign is totally confusing. In fact, it makes zero sense.
For starters, Turlington Burns and hubs Ed Burns created a short video, which they posted on Facebook and which has already garnered more than 17,000 hits on YouTube. In the video you’ll find a slew of famous moms – Jennifer Connelly, Blythe Danner, Debra Messing, Ann Curry and Dooce blogger Heather Armstrong among them. These women tell viewers that they won’t be answering the phone on Mother’s Day. They won’t be updating their Facebook status, and they won’t be accepting gifts. All this “to show everyone just how much a mother is missed when she is gone.”
Again, the message is meaningful – one that every mother and woman should care about – but I have no clue what these women are asking me to do. In fact, Turlington Burns told The Washington Post that that herself will enjoy a meal with her family – including her children (ages 6 and 8), sister, mother and possibly her mother-in-law, which makes no sense to me (i.e., she won’t answer the phone but she’ll go out for a celebratory meal?).
Turlington Burns also said the “No Mother’s Day” campaign is not intended as an economic protest but rather as a moment of solidarity with many other moms (and a shift in attitude, as well). Once again, I applaud Turlington Burns for trying to help at-risk women – I really do – but I get the impression most people have no clue what she’s on about (my own mother – a very smart woman – called me this morning to tell me she read an article about it in the paper but that she didn’t “get” it).
It’s frustrating, as Turlington Burns is no doubt a passionate woman who wants to make a difference. And I admire her for that! I’m no marketing expert, but even the awesome name alone – “No Mother’s Day” Mother’s Day – is enough to make people take notice. Too bad she couldn’t really explain what it’s all about, as there are no doubt countless mothers, myself included, who’d be happy to help out if only they understood what it is they should be doing.