According to Unilever, the 2017 rewrite of Heather Has Two Mommies should be titled Heather Has a Mommy and a “Mommy” Who Is Also Her Biological Father.
The new #RealMoms campaign for Unilever’s personal care brand Dove launched with a YouTube video featuring “diverse parenting styles” of various mothers and Shae the “grad student.” We are told Shae, who was born a man, and the woman next to him are the biological parents of the child with them. However, Shae unhesitatingly tells the camera, “We’re both gonna be moms.”
To recap, Dove’s ad about motherhood features a man who identifies as the “mom” of his biological child instead of the actual mother of that child.
But, not surprisingly, virtue signaling has no sense of shame or irony.
Dove’s #RealStrength homage to the critical role of fathers to promote the brand’s Men+Care product line was one of 2015’s highest rated Super Bowl ads was. And rightfully so, the ad tugged at the heartstrings. Moreover, the positive affirmation of fatherhood resonates, especially as broad swath of ideological, socioeconomic, religious, and racial backgrounds share a common recognition of the societal ills that stem from father absence.
Sadly, Dove’s motherhood/fatherhood confusion cheapens and distorts the very narrative about parenting their ads are trying to portray. Insinuating that a man can be a mother or a father based on how that man “identifies” takes the exclusive strengths men and women bring to childrearing and reduces their roles to a non-complementary “Parent 1/Parent 2” partnership.
The result of Dove’s rhetorical divergence is the total loss of pathos. The attempt to evoke an emotional response is rendered meaningless by the contradiction that only serves for signaling solidarity with the left’s most current social justice cause célèbre.
Through Dove’s marketing campaign, Unilever is illustrating how virtue signaling and identity politics overshadow basic values and linear logic in this new culture war battlefront. The left has transitioned from redefining the roles of men and women in marriage to redefining the actual meanings of “male” and “female” and the attributes that go with them.
Unilever’s role in enabling this radical gender upheaval, however, goes beyond ad campaigns. In fact, Unilever has partnered with the Human Rights Campaign to endorse legislation that would create special accommodations on the basis sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) at the federal level. Furthermore, at the left’s bidding, Unilever has lobbied against RFRA-type legislation in three states that would protect business owners from LGBT activists who use these accommodation mandates to persecute business owners for standing against the left’s redefinitions of marriage and gender.
This is why the fight in the modern culture wars extends beyond the ballot box and the courts. Conservatives have a real opportunity to influence the policy debate by engaging and, when necessary, holding companies like Unilever and Target accountable for their promotion of the LGBT left’s agenda.