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“Reclaim Your Wife”: Advertising Leaps Back 50 Years

“Reclaim Your Wife”: Advertising Leaps Back 50 Years


I thought I’d been transported back into an episode of the TV series Mad Men when I saw bottle manufacturer Bitty Lab’s latest campaign.  Over the past few days they tweeted the following message twelve times, telling new fathers to buy their bottles to “reclaim your wife.”

New Baby? Reclaim Your wife. Meet BARE.

This offensive marketing tactic presumes that a woman, or at least her breasts, belong to a man. It also attempts to create a false competition between the baby and the father, when the father should be supporting the mother in providing the best care and nutrition for her baby.

In case there was any misunderstanding about their message, they alternated the “reclaim your wife” message with a second one specifically pointing out that competition.

Feeling like you're competing with your newborn for mommy's attention? Meet BARE

The tweets created an uproar on twitter, with many breastfeeding moms pointing out how offensive and inappropriate the tweets are. Others, like blogger Feminist Breeder, took the tweets and the discussion to facebook.

The company, Bitty Labs, also took to facebook to post an apology that misses the mark entirely. They wrote:

Ladies, We’re really sorry about the twitter campaign run last week. It was a huge miss understood [sic] and resulted in offensive messages. It was taken down yesterday. The messages had nothing to do with putting a husband needs before the baby’s needs, it was more about having a little extra time for the rest of the family. Obviously the whole campaign was poorly executed. We apologize deeply for this miss understanding and assure you, from now on the campaigns will be closely monitored before they go out. Thank you for a second chance.

The messages, however, have not been taken down. They are all still visible at this time on the twitter account. Their apology really missed the mark with a lot of moms and feminists, who do not see “reclaim your wife” as equivalent to “having a little extra time for the rest of the family.”

Newborns sleep most of the day. There is plenty of opportunity for moms to spend time with the rest of the family with the baby around (the baby is, after all, part of the family) or while the baby sleeps in a nearby room. Moms can, of course, choose to take a break too, but that shouldn’t be because their husband is insisting on “reclaiming” his wife. Newborns have intense needs during those first few months and each woman is unique in terms of how quickly her body recovers from pregnancy and childbirth. Any message suggesting that the husband/father has the right to “reclaim” anything is horribly sexist.

It is bad enough that there are men out there who still see their wives as property. Even worse is that this campaign came from the owners of Bitty Lab, two mothers who breastfed their own babies.

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Photo credit: Mothering Touch on flickr

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9:50AM PDT on Sep 12, 2012

What a disgusting way of selling something!!

4:10PM PDT on Sep 10, 2012

Noted. Thanks.

1:56PM PDT on Aug 25, 2012


10:09AM PDT on Aug 19, 2012

Breast are nice on women.

9:40PM PDT on Aug 1, 2012

my first thought was this would help dad become more proactive with mom and baby, she could pump and have the bottles ready and dad could feed. nothing is more sexy for me than watching a man with babies/children. it could be a great bonding experience for all involved.

8:15AM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

Men need to be changes, fed, burbed, re diapered, spanked, and to be put in time out, bathed, and nite, nite time! They are big babies! Just use depends instead of pampers!

10:16PM PDT on Jul 29, 2012

This is exactly the type of stuff I would expect from the advertising industry. No ethics, no morals, and no decency.

7:01PM PDT on Jul 29, 2012

Reclaim? Eeesh give me a break. How insecure are these men exactly?

11:38AM PDT on Jul 29, 2012

That ad department could certainly have used different words ad; “bittylabs air-free babybottles, everyone could use a break once in a while.” Or something like that.

Dven H.
“Does anyone complain when the tables are turned and an advertisement scripts the husband like a babbling imbecile who needs his wife's permission to eat a hot dog or watch his TV program and his wife's intervention to solve his bumbling buffoonery.”

I hear ya there Dven, I find adverts that make men look like bimbos to be offensive. It’s just that at this point in time we’re dealing with this particular ad.

Steve R
“But you just had to slip that in huh? I guess you just presumed there had to be "men out there who still see their wives as property" simply because this ad might suggest it, right?”

There are men who see women/wives as property, hence the battle over Women’s rights to choose. I guess you missed the; ““Reclaim Your Wife” statement in the ad. Unless you don't comprehend the meaning of "reclaiming" something. it's pretty obvious to many here that you view women as property, hence your views of women 'suffering the consequences of sex'. So which consequences of sex do you suffer?

Elaine A
“Steve don't you get the feeling that we're in feminaziland”

You say that like it’s a bad thing.

10:06AM PDT on Jul 28, 2012

There are men who think women's breasts DO belong to them .. .MY breasts have rights .. they are MINE!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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