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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.

21 comments

1 Kathy { 02.06.14 at 11:17 pm }

Well said, Mel. Thank you for writing and sharing this. I couldn’t agree more with your response to that post.

2 Geochick { 02.06.14 at 11:35 pm }

Good GAWD, I just read that post and it’s hilarious. A) the woman refers to not knowing anything about adoption twice. B) She calls adoption “selfless” act. *puke*. B) She says she considered it, but with 2 small children she has her hands full. So, guess she doesn’t have any trouble conceiving. C) S noted that she didn’t say anything of substance, and she’s saying “I’m not part of the community…but I’ll give you my opinion anyway”. Welp, the internet is a big place. She can have her opinion. And I can call her a dumbass.

3 Geochick { 02.06.14 at 11:36 pm }

damn, I have two B’s. stupid head cold.

4 Brid { 02.07.14 at 1:28 am }

Yeah, I’ve always despised those “Kay” commercials. We don’t need to mark our most precious of our moments with trinkets. I’ve always disliked that company for that, but years ago Jack said, “That’s true! Every KISS does begins with ‘K'”, but he just didn’t get that every kiss does NOT begin with KAY… further, every special moment is marked by our hearts and memories …No matter how our babies come to us, it’s a pretty great thing. Jewelry is mostly secondary to that! (Winkwink; don’t know how to add a wink face!). HOWEVER, defending a corporation for almost anything, let alone for trying to dupe people over some of the most sensitive moments in life, is pretty ridiculous. I mean, fuck, they’re not the only ones, but maybe she thinks she’ll get a free heart necklace. Further, I clicked over there and was exposed to so many crap-shit links that I felt my innocence was breached. At least I discovered I still have some innocence… thought it was all gone! …As always, good thoughts, Mel. xo
ps. I suppose the only ones who might fall for that are the ones who’ve never dealt with anything like it. xo again… I nee danother glas sof win enow. (winkywnk)

5 andy { 02.07.14 at 7:38 am }

As always, you rock Mel!!!

6 a { 02.07.14 at 8:12 am }

I don’t understand why people have to take it up a notch (or twist the dial all the way to the end, as the case may be) when they disagree with someone else’s opinion. Lynch mob? Really? I suppose “it’s just a commercial” isn’t controversial enough of a stance to get the page views. Sigh – I guess this writer and Kay’s ad people have a lot in common.

7 Pepper { 02.07.14 at 8:22 am }

Well written and thoughtful. I am not going to read the article because I know that it will bother me for the rest of the day (and I don’t want to give them the clicks), but I am incredibly annoyed by people who have not experienced something as enormous, emotional, and life-changing as infertility or adoption and feel that they can not only comment on it, but critique it. It is condescending and reductive.

Screw you, Mommyish lady.Try dealing with a devastating infertility diagnosis for one day and then tell me to take a “chill pill” when a major retailer shrinks my life down to a cheesy commercial.

8 nicoleandmaggie { 02.07.14 at 9:05 am }

Her argument reminds me of the things I read on yoisthisracist. “*I* wasn’t offended (although I’m not a member of the targeted group), therefore it can’t possibly be offensive.” Weak tea.

9 Adena { 02.07.14 at 9:21 am }

I saw that commercial and it bothered me but I didn’t know exactly why until now. Thanks so much for writing this post.

10 Aerotropolitan Comitissa { 02.07.14 at 10:40 am }

Gosh, I do love it when people respond to stuff by going OTT and comparing everyone to lynch mobs and telling them to take pills. So proportional.

Now.

I do take the point that diversity in advertising is great. And I do take the point that thirty seconds is not long enough to convey a full story. But I think they got this one wrong – they could have done it better, they could have made more of their opportunity, instead of reinforcing all the things people have been fighting against for a while now – and still made something warm and fuzzy which sold jewellery.

Which is still a vaguely unsettling notion to me, that you would sum up this kind of occasion with a bangle or a locket, but then I felt the same way about engagement rings, so maybe I’m not the best person to ask.

But for those who like to mark things with jewellery, hopefully they’ll get a better ad for it next time around.

11 Northern Star { 02.07.14 at 11:04 am }

I just read that article and oh wow, I now wish I hadn’t because it’s put a wrench into my morning.

I don’t understand why the writer felt compelled to comment, given her admission that she has no experience with adoption and clearly thinks that those who do are overreacting.

Adoption lynch mob? Just wow.

And ya, I’m puking right along with Geochick.

12 fifi { 02.07.14 at 11:25 am }

This reminds me of that article (don’t have the link right now) about “fertility privilege”. Only it goes beyond that into “non-adoptee privilege” and “non-birth-mother privilege”. I notice that she only mentions the “heartache that goes into adoption” from the point of view of the adoptive parents, just as the ad does she hasn’t even considered the other parents as people. I feel like sentencing her to multiple viewings of “Philomena”.
Or as one of the comments said “Ms. Ramos, “I’m not part of the adoption community” is probably where your commentary on this should have ended.”

13 loribeth { 02.07.14 at 11:58 am }

I read the post a day or two ago, and I thought it was obvious she knows very little about adoption. :p And the “lynch mob” phrase seemed rather over the top. But thank you for drawing attention to why that phrase is offensive, in this case &/or anytime. I’m with Fifi — those who are “fertility privileged” really don’t have a clue sometimes.

14 Tracie { 02.07.14 at 12:41 pm }

“Because when we do that, we take our individual stories and we make them cheap.”

Yes. So much yes.

15 It Is What It Is { 02.07.14 at 12:57 pm }

You and Lori have compassionately, pointedly, and astutely led this charge. I seriously have a headache from just popping over to the Momm…. post again to leave a comment and reading the small minded, cavalier, and completely ignorant comments there. As in my head hurts enough that I am going to have a to pop a pill, a tylenol.

My blood is boiling way too much, I am way too close to the flame to get further involved.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for giving voice to what is so clearly off about this entire spectacle.

16 Mrs T (missohkay) { 02.07.14 at 1:08 pm }

The pizza = baby analogy is spot-on. I wanted to like this commercial because despite the gross-ness of using human emotion to sell a product (which is EVERY commercial), I appreciate the effort to show an experience outside of most people’s norm. It’s just that they seem to have created a commercial w/o having consulted anyone who HAS been part of that situation. Even though it was touchy-feely and passed on all the stereotypes of adoptive parents, they didn’t even seem to know any adoptive parents! (Let alone any birthmothers or adoptees!) The adoptive parents I know are keenly aware of the fact that adoption involves loss and not just long waits and heart-shaped jewelry. And clearly, the birthmothers and adoptees feel it to a much greater extent. I get the “it’s a commercial, not a documentary” mind-set, but I think there’s a right way to do it (see the IVF Pampers commercial) and a wrong way (Kay Jewelers).

17 deathstar { 02.07.14 at 2:00 pm }

Okay, I just had to pop over there and leave my 2 cents. I rarely participate in those kind of things, but I felt compelled. As for the comments that follow, ugh!eye roll.

18 Turia { 02.07.14 at 3:47 pm }

Great post, Mel.

19 Jess { 02.07.14 at 9:32 pm }

Your page has been quoted on HuffPo, Mel. And the comments on Facebook are disgusting. In fact, they are now just straight out slamming infertile people which really has nothing or little to do with it. Sigh.

20 Shamballa J. { 02.10.14 at 3:31 am }

Say ” No Objects, Like Jewelry”

21 Laura { 02.17.14 at 1:25 pm }

I am taken aback by the fact that people may think this commercial is “be-littleing” to adoption in any way. It’s just a commercial and the truth is that sometimes (in fact often) special moments in life are celebrated with gifts and jewelry. Besides that, when I first saw this on TV I was HAPPY that the media was putting adoption out there! I appreciated that through this commercial the general public was getting an oppurtunity to acknowledge that adoption exists and that it can be a positive thing. Connecting the undescribable amazing moment of seeing your child with other very joyful moments in life (anniversaries, engagements, etc) Why is this being overlooked?

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