Monday, February 2, 2009
Good and bad messages for Valentine's Day
There's a commercial for Hallmark Valentine's Day cards on TV right now that is truly offensive. I tried to find it online somewhere, but didn't succeed, so here it is:
We see a group of elementary school girls sitting in the cafeteria together. One girl opens her lunch and pulls out an apple with handmade hearts around it. Someone says something, but I'm sorry, but I forget what it is. Then, a second girl pulls out a sandwich, which has been cut into the shape of a heart. Honestly, I wasn't paying that much attention, and the thought that I had was "Oh, that's really sweet. And cute." Again, there's some remark made, but still, since I didn't know what was coming next, and I tune out when the commercials come on, I can't tell you exactly what was said. The third and last girl opens her lunch and finds a card in an envelope. Oh, it's a Hannah Montana card! She opens it and it even plays a tune! The other girls look miserable. They only got handmade things, things that weren't paid for. They only got things that their mothers actually had to put some thought and time into.
This ad sends two truly awful messages. The first is obvious: presents that are bought are superior to hand-made. But the second message is even worse: it's okay to make other kids unhappy and to tease them.
I thought we were done with kind of thing. Schools work very hard these days to stop bullying and teasing, and there's at least some effort put into stopping the clique mentality that comes along with some kids having the "right stuff" while others don't.
So, it comes as a big surprise to me to see this Hallmark ad. Hallmark, a company that's supposed to bring cheer into our lives with lovely messages, is promoting a way of behaving and thinking that I naively thought might become a thing of the past. All I can say is, "Hallmark, shame on you!"
If you're watching TV, keep your eyes open for this ad. I'd be curious to see if any of you find it as offensive as I do.
Image note: From the Martha Stewart website: "This Valentine's Day, encourage kids to show sweet sentiments with tokens of affection that go beyond the store-bought card. . .In no time, they'll have an array of adorable valentines whose messages come straight from the heart." Instructions for making flower and heart lollipops and other Valentine's goodies here.