As Kate Harding points out at Broadsheet, the mom-themed commercials are aimed mainly at dudes, who are apparently compelled by colds to seek out a "fantasy of perfectly coddled convalescence." Now, I myself have been known to crave momly care during times of illness, though these days I tend to visit Postcards From Yo Momma rather than bugging my actual mom. While she did nurse me through a college bout with appendicitis, she generally took sort of a strict approach to sickness when I was growing up. My brother and I pretty much went to school unless our symptoms included vomiting or visible boils, and while I might have spread some colds in my day, I also learned to tough out sneezing, sore throats, and other minor afflictions without too much complaining. It's something of a stereotype that men never learn this, and that women must thus baby them through every sniffle. I'm not sure if I buy it — but luckily, as Harding writes, Kleenex has so many more stereotypes to choose from!
The Get Mommed website offers eight mothers to choose from, including Jessica the best-friend mom and Veronica, a hard-driving career woman who knows how to get organized. Then there's Asian-American mom Sue, who believes in "hard work" and "tough love" — and just in case you didn't get that Asians care about achievement, there's a report card right next to her face. The most ridiculous example of racial stereotyping in the name of rhinovirus relief, though, is Ana Maria, a Latina mom with a big family. She says, "I grew up with an extended family of aunts, uncles, great-aunts, cousins, grandmas, you name it" — which sort of implies that there are other types of familial relationships we haven't even heard of. Just to be clear, Ana Maria explains, "I learned so much from my family. They were from different cultures." But these poor different cultures might not have "antiviral" tissues — and Ana Maria is here to make sure that (in Harding's words) "strange young white men who show up at her door unable to cope with the common cold" never have to suffer their fate. Which is, um, just blowing your nose like a normal adult, and not relying on a creepy panel of ethnic caricatures to teach you how to do so.