Pity the 21st Century wife and mother. It seems there is some kind of mysterious social force today that puts pressure on her to be some sort of “supermom”. The typical self-described supermom is a sort of sad caricature of the “liberated woman” aspired to by the old late-1960s feminist movement. She is a creation of the clever marketing machine of today’s corporate world — an industrial complex that would like to have in the clutches of its precious market share a population of insecure people willing to buy any kind of product, avail of any service, and participate in any activity that will promise them some degree of self-actualisation.
Supermoms have it all — a hard-driving stilleto-heeled power career, a horde of amigas to sip lattes with at the latest trendy cafe, a Wonder Woman physique toned by gruelling hours spent cross-training on $2000 dollar bikes, and Angelina Jolie branded poster children drilled to insanity to ace the entrance test to the Ateneo de Manila Grade School.
A litany of “lifestyle products” beckon to them at the glitzy megalomalls towering over the haze of megalo-Manila’s traffic-clogged and sewage-stenched streets. All of them are literally and figuratively shrinkwrapped into neat packages to ensure that supermom does not miss a beat in the “busy schedule” that governs her life tossing them into her figurative, literal, digital, and physical “shopping cart”.
We begin to wonder, do we own our digital “calendars” or do they own us? For that matter, do we still own our lives? Or does Facebook own it? That does not matter to supermom, of course. She is too busy being everything to everyone and having it all.
The supermom represents the pinnacle of achievement of corporate marketing. She is a masterpiece of consumer engineering. Supermom is the cash cow that returns much of precious capital invested in turning cosmetics, fashion, electronic gadgets, extreme private education, events management, expensive vacations, and metrosexual men (their counterpart in the male of the species) into the must-have image accessories we have been conditioned to continuously obssess about acquiring.
Like the Filipino overseas foreign worker (OFW), supermoms should be elevated to that hallowed pedestal where national heroes stand. After all, she accounts for a sizeable chunk of the consumption that the Philippines’ hollow consumption-driven economy depends on.
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