Okay, I’ll Bite and Talk about This Post about the Kay Jewelry Commercial
Mommyish has a post titled: “The Adoption Lynch Mob Needs To Take A Chill Pill Before Freaking Out About This Commercial.” I normally don’t take link bait, but this time, I will. Because what has people up in arms about the Kay Jewelry commercial is that adoption involves people. It involves… actually… a lot of people. The triad is an enormous group that contains a multitude of layers; not just the child at the center of the adoption, the adoptive parents, and the birth parents. It contains the birth grandparents and birth aunts and uncles. And the adoptive grandparents and aunts and… well, you get it. We’re talking about actual human beings here, some with intense feelings.
Not objects. Like jewelry.
But in Kay Jewelry’s commercial, human beings were reduced to a commodity that can be hand-delivered… like a pizza. And in the same way that I may never see the person who is being paid minimum wage to make that pizza, nor do I know much about the person who delivers it to my house, that commercial makes it all about the pizza… I mean… the baby. And the people who make the pizza… or the people who make the baby… they’re completely out of the storyline. And let’s face the facts: pizza commercials do more to show us the people behind the creation, showing some smiling employee spreading sauce on a piece of dough, than that commercial did to show us the birth parents who were written out of the storyline. But in any case, human beings should never be delivered. Like a pizza.
Kay Jewelers took a potentially emotional subject and reduced it to a means to sell a product. And that’s offensive in the same way that it is offensive when any company uses any huge, emotional event or situation in order to sell a product.
Because when we do that, we take our individual stories and we make them cheap.
The adoption story is a very varied story with a plethora of responses to adoption for every member of the triad. Like all family situations, a wide range of feelings exist for the members on how they feel about being part of their family or not having members of their family present. Some are happy or at peace, and others are not. Kay Jewelers told only one side of it; and really, barely any side at all. But I don’t expect a lot out of Kay Jewelers. Their sole goal is to move jewelry. They don’t actually care about human beings and adoption stories. But the flip side is that a large group of people wish they had never touched adoption if they couldn’t do it well. Plus, let’s not pretend that this is a huge step in a good direction. This is just a company looking for another market. And the market is saying, “no thanks because you offended us.”
Which doesn’t really make this a lynch mob. Which is SUCH an offensive term that I can’t believe your editor allowed you to put that in your title. Do you know what a lynch mob is? Wikipedia sums it up nicely: “Lynching is murder by mob, often by hanging, but also by burning at the stake or shooting, in order to punish an alleged transgressor, or to intimidate, control, or otherwise manipulate a specific sector of a population.” It’s a means for a dominant group to control a weaker group.
And I think that using this term is doubly offensive — beyond the racial undertones of the term — because we’re talking about a group that has had its rights subverted in the US for years. There are adoptees who don’t know their heritage; who were part of closed adoptions and cannot get information they want even though it belongs to them. You admit several times in your post that you know nothing about adoption. But even without knowing anything about adoption itself, I think you can see how offensive it is to compare adoption advocates to a lynch mob and tell them to “take a chill pill” because they express their displeasure at a commercial. Kay Jewelers needs to hear that the public doesn’t appreciate this commercial and hopefully they won’t make another one like it in the future. That’s how progress is made: talking about issues, not telling people to shut up.
So I won’t ask you to not express yourself. But please know that like Kay Jewelers, you’re incredibly offensive. And people are going to respond to that.